Sebastiano Ridolfi tries on the costume of Papà del Gnoco, or "Gnocchi Dad," the Santa-esque figure who's the symbol of the gnocchi-themed pre-Lent celebration in Verona, Italy. Although Ridolfi didn't win the election to be Papà del Gnoco, he was received warmly by the crowd and remains committed to challenging traditions.
Andrea Di Martino
While much of the world gorges on pancakes for Fat Tuesday, the semla is the go-to delicacy of the North, traditionally devoured just before Lent. It takes various forms (and names) throughout Scandinavia.
Beaver barbecue at Bootleggin' BBQ in St. Louis, Mo. Though many Catholics abstain from eating meat on Fridays during Lent, in some parts of the country, water-dwelling mammals have long been considered fair game.
Alan Greenblatt for NPR
A young parishioner carries plates filled with fried fish and potatoes to a table during a Lenten Friday fish fry at St. Frances Cabrini Catholic Church in Littleton, Colo., in 2009.