Mardi Gras is almost here! That means it’s time to don your purple, green and gold Mardi Gras costumes and celebrate. Whether you’re heading to New Orleans or indulging in your own local celebrations, you’re bound to have the time of your life. But have you ever stopped to think about why you’re celebrating or how Mardi Gras came to be?
While you don’t need to know all the facts to have fun, it’s always great to know the history behind why you’re indulging. Here are 9 facts about Mardi Gras to help you get into the holiday spirit!
- Mardi Gras marks the end of Carnival season. The Carnival season begins on January 6th, the Epiphany and lasts until the day before Ash Wednesday.
- In French, Mardi Gras means “Fat Tuesday.” The day represents the last hurrah of sorts leading up to the start of Lent, the 40 days of fasting before Easter.
- Pope Gregory XIII made Mardi Gras a holiday in 1582 by adding it to his Gregorian calendar the day before Ash Wednesday. The LeMoyne brothers brought the holiday to North America in the late 17th century.
- Mardi Gras is celebrated around the world. In Ireland, England, Australia, New Zealand, and Canada, it is also known as “Pancake Day.” The holiday is celebrated by eating pancakes and participating in pancake-themed activities.
- The first Mardi Gras celebrations took place in Mobile, Alabama in 1703. The city hosts the second largest party after New Orleans.
- The first Mardi Gras parade in New Orleans took place in 1837. It wasn’t until 1857 that floats appeared in the parade.
- If you’re going to ride on a float in the Mardi Gras parade, you’re required by law to wear a mask. The tradition of wearing a mask started to rid society of the social constraints for the holiday. Different classes and groups could mingle freely during the festivities.
- Beads aren’t the only things thrown into the crowd during the Mardi Gras parade. People throw stuffed animals, toys, candy and more.
- Green, purple and gold are the official colors of Mardi Gras. Each color is said to represent different things. Green for faith, purple for justice and gold for power.
Go forth and celebrate Fat Tuesday in style. Don’t be afraid to indulge! And just remember, there’s no such thing as too much King Cake!