Mardi Gras in New Orleans

Mardi Gras always falls on Ash Wednesday.

Mardi Gras took place on Feb. 13 in New Orleans, Louisiana. It’s always on a Tuesday, aka “Fat Tuesday” or “Shrove Tuesday”. “Fat Tuesday” is the last day of the carnival season because it always falls the day before Ash Wednesday, the first day of Lent. It marks the last day of the carnival season. Mardi Gras is also known as “pancake day”. Most people plan to arrive no later than Saturday, Feb. 10 so that they could enjoy an extended weekend full of activities. They also have a weekend called “Family Gras” which has outdoor concerts.

There is an extended weekend before Mardi Gras where you can see the most popular parades. Some of the more popular ones are Endymion, Bacchus, Zulu, and Rex. The origins can be traced back to medieval Europe. Mardi Gras was brought to North America in the late 17th century by the LeMoyne brothers. Also, the first New Orleans Mardi Gras parade was 177 years ago. New Orleans wasn’t the first location. Mobile, Alabama is where it originally began. The official colors are purple, gold and green. Each color is symbolic. Green symbolizes faith, purple represents justice, while gold indicates power. Some popular foods during this time are king cakes, gumbo, beans and rice. King cake is associated in a number of countries with a festival that takes place at the end of the Christmas season, but in this case it’s associated with the pre-Lenten celebrations. Masks, beads, and feathers are most recognizable decorations at these celebrations. Mardi Gras Royalty changes yearly. Every year the city chooses a new Rex. It’s usually someone well known, and they receive the symbolic key to the city.

While New Orleans is the most known city to celebrate it, Mardi Gras is celebrated all over the world. It’s a Catholic holiday, but many have embraced the festival. In Belgium, it is one of the most important celebration days of the year. Italy is the birthplace of the carnival celebration. 70% of Brazil’s tourism takes place during Mardi Gras. Last but not least, Mardi Gras is just one part of the carnival.