Mardi Gras Is Here
Its Mardi Gras week and many people are ready to join the festivities in their area. Mardi Gras celebrations have been around in the United States since the early 1700s, and are most commonly associated with New Orleans.
The name Mardi Gras literally translates into “Fat Tuesday,” which is happening this year on March 5, and always on the day before Ash Wednesday. It is a tradition of feasting and celebration in preparation for the Lenten season. Lent is a Christian-based practice of fasting and personal reflection that is observed during the 40 days from Ash Wednesday until Easter.
The origin of Mardi Gras can be traced back to ancient Rome. Over time, the customs have changed and adapted according to the location. Credit is given to French explorers Pierre Le Moyne Sieur d’Iberville and Jean Baptiste Le Moyne Sieur de Bienville for bringing Mardi Gras to America, when their explorations led them to the area that is now Louisiana. Mobile, Alabama claims to have had the first Mardi Gras festivities in 1703. The state of Louisiana declared Mardi Gras an official holiday in 1875.
Perhaps the most famous, and largest, Mardi Gras celebrations are found in New Orleans. There are parades and parties with costumes, masks and beads all over. King cakes and cocktails are also a big part of the celebration known also as Carnival, or Carnaval.
There is more information about the history of Mardi Gras on history.com.