Lent gives you the chance to recognise your bad habits and overcome them - but not without having a huge celebration first!
We've all heard of Rio Carnival but here are some of the more unusual celebrations that kick off the 40 days of abstinence...
- Pigs' bladders and red carrot-shaped noses
In Stavelot, Belgium, the Carnival de la Laetare is one of a number of Lent celebrations. Participants dress up in costumes, the most unique being the Blancs-Moussis (meaning clad in white), who swat bystanders with confetti and dried pig bladders.
- Trolls with doughnuts
The Busójárás is a celebration that takes place in Mohács, Hungary. Participants dress up in terrifying, troll-like costumes and parade about for a number of days whilst drinking wine and eating doughnuts off spikes.
- Hanging of the fake donkey
Along with the wandering ''mad giants'', this is part of the huge and very unique carnival celebrations that take place in Solsona, Catalonia. The fake donkey (it's a stuffed toy) is hanged from a bell tower in the middle of town and then "urinates" on those who pass under it (apparently it's just water!).
- Burying a sardine
The Burial of the Sardine is a ritual that takes place across Spain before Lent. The huge sardine is typically burned and the crowd throw toys after it. The event symbolises the period of abstinence to follow - although the rest of the night is spent eating and drinking alcohol.
- Springtime Halloween?
In Denmark, Fastelavn is essentially the Nordic Halloween. It takes place in spring rather than autumn - otherwise it's basically the same. Kids dress up in scary costumes and knock for treats like Fastelavnsboller (that's tasty custard buns to you and me).
And you thought stuffing yourself with pancakes was an elaborate way to mark giving up chocolate for a few weeks!