Across Europe, thousands celebrated Carnival time – and, in some areas, the Chinese New Year.
Carnival or Shrovetide is a Christian festive season that occurs before Lent. In modern times, the main focus lies with colourful parades and street parties.
It is pre-eminently the festival of “folly, mockery and exuberance”.
In Belgium, one of the biggest carnivals takes place in Aalst.
Events of the past year are scrutinised, sometimes subtly and, at other times, less subtly so.
Likewise, in Germany, political events are scrutinised and not every parade float was understated.
Some 70,000 people came to cheer the procession at the town hall in Düsseldorf.
About 8,000 participants, 85 groups on foot, 110 themed floats and 30 brass bands attended the parade.
The Carnival Parade on Rose Monday marks the grand finale of the Mainz Carnival. With a history spanning more than 170 years, it is among the biggest in Germany. Smaller parades are held in several Mainz districts in the days preceding it.
Often recurring was the imagery of the unpopular German Government.
In southern Europe, the festivities had a different look – and feel.
Madeira Island, Portugal and Tenerife, Spain showed a more “Latin” take on things.
Also occurring across Europe and the wider world were the Chinese New Year celebrations on February 10: