A carnival in Mankato is a festive season that typically involves a public celebration or parade combining some elements of circus, mask and public street party. People dress up or masquerade during these celebrations, which mark an overturning of daily life. People celebrate with large, popular and days-long events in Mankato. It includes middle-of-the night parades ending at sunrise with burning of straws, symbolizing cleansing of sins and bad luck. Festivities include live bands, floats, elaborate carnival costumes, beauty contests, pageants and other competitions. Carnival festivities break the weeks-long fast observed during the Lenten period before Easter, with rich foods such as meat, dairy, fat and sugar.