CNN) — Ash Wednesday is fast approaching (Wednesday, February 26). So you know what that means.


It's Carnival time around the world as people, most particularly folks in areas with strong Roman Catholic traditions, get their party on before the more solemn, introspective days of Lent commence.


A few destinations are practically synonymous with Carnival festivals -- Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, leads the list with celebrations dating back to the 1700s.


The wild times at Mardi Gras (Fat Tuesday) in New Orleans, Louisiana, are the stuff of legends (and hangovers).


Venice, Italy, draws huge crowds annually with its fancy balls, masked celebrants and parade boats plying the canals -- but this year the festival was forced to close early due to the coronavirus outbreak in northern Italy.