Carnival Culture from Around the World on Display

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Trinidadian carnival costume i

A ship tops the hat of this Trinidadian carnival costume. Reed Hutchinson hide caption

itoggle caption Reed Hutchinson
Trinidadian carnival costume

A ship tops the hat of this Trinidadian carnival costume.

Reed Hutchinson
A child's costume i

A child's costume from the Mardi Gras Indians of New Orleans, an African-American krewe of paraders and performers. David Mayo hide caption

itoggle caption David Mayo
A child's costume

A child's costume from the Mardi Gras Indians of New Orleans, an African-American krewe of paraders and performers.

David Mayo

The revelry of the Mardi Gras celebrations are not exclusive to New Orleans. Mardi Gras is part of the tradition of Carnival, a festival of excess which began in 12th century Rome. The word "Carnival" literally means "flesh farewell." Eating, drinking, and overall merry-making lead up to the fasting and self-sacrifice of Lent in the Christian Calendar.

The Museum of International Folk Art has compiled an audio-visual history of carnival celebrations around the world. It highlights their pageantry and history, and offers a glimpse of their future. The exhibition is currently on display through late April at the Fowler Museum of Cultural History at the University of California, Los Angeles.

NPR's Farai Chideya joined Betsy Quick, director of education at the Fowler Museum, for a tour. After Los Angeles, the exhibit will travel to San Diego, New Orleans and Dallas.

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