Shrove Tuesday, a.k.a Pancake Day, a.k.a. Mardi Gras, is celebrated on the day before Ash Wednesday. Learn more about Shrove Tuesday by watching the full video.    

I don’t know about you but all this talking about pancakes has made me hungry.

GIFs by Sara Levine for Oxford University Press.


Moses riding a giant eagle. Rats running out of a bank vault. And those were just the floats. It’s Carnival in Brazil, and for Rio de Janeiro’s huge Samba Parade, the city’s 12 main samba schools pulled out all the stops on Monday — including having a man parachute into the Sambadrome mid-parade.

Add to that thousands of dancers and drummers dressed in elaborate costumes that sparkle and glow, all cheered on by tens of thousands of spectators, plus a national TV audience — and you have an incredibly watchable spectacle.

It’s even more amazing to be able to participate.

Except if your pants fall down in mid-samba.

Which mine did.

More about that in a minute.

I joined Vila Isabel Samba School this year. It’s one of the most venerable schools in Rio. Every year, 12 top-tier samba schools compete for two days during Carnival to be crowned the winner. It’s a huge deal. Vila Isabel won in 2013, but in the past two years, it finished at the bottom after underwhelming parades. So a lot was riding on Monday’s performance.

In Rio, The Samba Parade Goes On Despite A Wardrobe Malfunction

Video and photo: André Vieira for NPR

Today is Mardi Gras, also known as Shrove Tuesday or Fat Tuesday—the day before Ash Wednesday. Mardi Gras is often celebrated with overindulging, before the Christian season of Lent, and in some countries it has become customary to consume pancakes on this day. So, we wish you a happy Pancake Day too.

Shrove Tuesday,” 1567, by Pieter van der Heyden

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