During Carnival, crowds gather to catch throws from fancy floats. Epiphany, January 6, is the official end of the Christmas season, but it also kicks off Carnival season in New Orleans. Although some people say Carnival and Mardi Gras interchangeably, they are actually different things. Carnival is a time to eat, drink and be merry before the rigorous fasting and sacrifice during Lent.

Carnival is filled with parades, balls and other celebrations leading up to Mardi Gras, which is French for “Fat Tuesday.” Mardi Gras is always the Tuesday before Ash Wednesday. Carnival officially ends at midnight on Fat Tuesday and Lent begins.

Phunny Phorty Fellows, a band of Twelfth Night revelers, holds its annual ride on the St. Charles Streetcar January 6, also called Twelfth Night. The ride begins around 6 p.m. Joan of Arc’s birthday also celebrated on Epiphany. That celebration begins on Decatur Street with historical characters in medieval dress parading through the French Quarter.

Venues all over town will have live music and special guests to get the celebration.