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Unlike other holidays such as Christmas or Halloween, Easter Sunday falls on a different date every year. Figuring out what day that is includes using both the solar and lunar calendars. Put neatly: Easter is the first Sunday after the first full moon after the vernal equinox. Count back 46 days from then and you get to Ash Wednesday, the beginning of Lent. The day before that is "Fat Tuesday" or Mardi Gras, which, for Brazilians and many others, spells the end of that year's Carnevale. (When it actually begins is anyone's guess.)

Preparations and rehearsals for Carnevale go on for weeks and months in some parts of Brazil. Music, dance, puppetry are all involved. A friend once told me that Carnevale is the only thing Brazilians take seriously. This 'rehearsal' on the streets of Olinda, a small town just north of Recife, took place nearly a month before "Fat Tuesday".