Mardi Gras 2018, also known as Shrove Tuesday, or Fat Tuesday, will be celebrated on Tuesday, February 13, 2018. Although this holiday does not have a fixed date, it is always a Tuesday between February 3rd and March 9th.
When Do We Celebrate Mardi Gras?
Mardi Gras is always 47 days before Easter Sunday, and the Tuesday before Ash Wednesday. While for many people Mardi Gras refers to the entire season of celebrations (also known as Carnival) that take place between Three Kings Day in January and Lent, Mardi Gras is actually the last day of the celebrations. It is considered the last day of letting lose and feasting on fatty foods before Lent begins, hence the name Mardi Gras, French for Fat Tuesday.
Historians have dated the Mardi Gras celebrations back to when Christians first arrived in Rome, thousands of years ago. The existing pagan celebrations of the Romans were merged with those of the newly arrived Christians. The result was the season of Mardi Gras, a season of excessive eating and debauchery, which culminated on a Tuesday and was followed by Lent, a season of repentance and fasting.
Why Do We Celebrate Mardi Gras?
It’s believed that the first American Mardi Gras took place in what is now Louisiana on March 3, 1699, with the arrival of French explorers. Celebrations were banned when the Spanish took over, but resumed after Louisiana became a state.
Mardi Gras is an international holiday – and season – celebrated in many cities around the world. Customs and traditions vary depending on the city, but common ones include all of the best local street foods, music, costumes, masquerade balls and parades.
Cities famous for their Carnival and Mardi Gras celebrations include New Orleans, which throws the most famous Mardi Gras party in the US, and Rio de Janeiro, which throws the biggest celebration in the world with over 2 million attendees each day. Quebec’s Winter Carnival and Venice’s Carnevale are also sought out destinations for Mardi Gras.
It may have started as a Roman Catholic tradition, but Mardi Gras has evolved into an international festival season that draws people of all religions and traditions.