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Last Updated: Wednesday, 1 March 2006, 14:47 GMT
In pictures: Angola's carnival

A man in his carnival outfit - a multi-coloured ensemble

The BBC's Sarah Grainger attended Angola's lavish Mardi Gras carnival - a tradition that was inherited from the country's Portuguese colonisers.

Crowds watch the procession along the main waterfront road in Luanda

Masses of people crowded onto the road that skirts the bay of the capital, Luanda, to watch the three-hour procession in which 13 groups compete to be the Mardi Gras winner.

Carnival queens

Each of the groups had their own carnival kings and queens - who wore bridal veils. They all donned multi-coloured dresses and metal crowns that were about two feet (60cm) high.

Carnival float

Some floats chose a theme. This one with a huge rubbish collector astride it was about keeping the seafront capital clean and tidy.

A man claps during the carnival with women behind him carrying baskets of fruit

Although the festival was inherited from the Portuguese, Luanda's Mardi Gras has its own traditions as these women carrying fruit baskets show.

A troupe in red performs their dance

All groups had dancers, with some troupes doing the traditional "dizanda" dance where the moves imitate a bird eating grain off the ground.

Musicians in yellow play their own compositions

Each group, some numbering more than 100 people, are judged on their dance, their music - which they must compose themselves - and their dress.

A girl dressed up as a carnival queen

The three-day carnival, which marks the beginning of the Christian fasting period of Lent, started with a children's procession and culminated in Tuesday's grand parade.

A man in his carnival outfit - a gold skirt and paper had

The judges will announce the Mardi Gras winner later in the week and the group's take-home prize from the various sponsors will amount to some $20,000.




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