Mardi Gras: Fat Tuesday to Ash Wednesday

By Bob Schulman

Revelers in Mazatlan’s Plaza Machado.

Try to imagine 600,000 people prancing around in elaborate costumes, shaking their booties and otherwise whooping it up for Mardi Gras. No it’s not New Orleans. Or Rio. It’s Mazatlan (www.gomazatlan.com), a beach resort in western Mexico, where every last hotel room in town is filled for the holiday weekend. On top of that, thousands more revelers are ashore for the day from cruise ships packing the harbor.

Float in one of Mazatlan’s Mardi Gras parades.

As they say in New Orleans (the world’s No. 1 Mardi Gras celebration), bon ton roulet – let the good times roll. Mazatlan comes in as No. 3. So where’s No. 2? That would be Mobile, Ala.

World’s No. 1 Mardi Gras is in New Orleans.

Among highlights of Mazatlan’s celebration last month, revelers enjoyed three queen coronations and two seemingly never-ending parades along the city’s 12 miles of sparkling beaches.

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Said to have been brought to Mexico by Spanish invaders during the colonial period, Mardi Gras today is typically celebrated in port cities such as La Paz, Veracruz, Cozumel, and Ensenada besides Mazatlan. The revelry typically goes on for five days each February, during which debauchery gives way to the more serious business of Lenten fasting.

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