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Mardi Gras Carnival

February 21

Significance of Mardi Gras Carnival 2023

Mardi Gras Carnival 2023, also known as Fat Tuesday or Shrove Tuesday, is an annual celebration in the United States and in many countries around the world–mainly those with large Roman Catholic populations. Traditionally, it is known as the day prior to the religious season of Lent begins but it also serves as a day of celebration.

History of Mardi Gras Carnival

The history of Mardi Gras Carnival 2023 dates back thousands of years to pagan celebrations of spring and fertility, including the raucous Roman festivals of Saturnalia and Lupercalia. When Christianity arrived in Rome, religious leaders decided to incorporate these popular local traditions into the new faith and as a result, the Mardi Gras season became a prelude to Lent, the 40 days of penance between Ash Wednesday and Easter Sunday.

In the United States, the Mardi Gras Carnival dates back to March 3, 1699, when the French explorers Iberville and Bienville landed in what is now called Louisiana, just south of New Orleans. They held a small celebration and dubbed the spot Point du Mardi Gras. In the decades that followed, New Orleans and other French settlements began marking the holiday with street parties, masked balls and lavish dinners. When the Spanish took control of New Orleans, however, they abolished these rowdy rituals, and the bans remained in force until Louisiana became a state in the United States of America in 1812.

On Mardi Gras in 1827, a group of students dressed in colourful costumes and danced through the streets of New Orleans. Ten years later, the first recorded New Orleans Mardi Gras parade took place, a tradition that continues to this day. In 1857, a secret society of New Orleans businessmen called the Mistick Krewe of Comus organized a torch-lit Mardi Gras procession with marching bands and rolling floats, setting the tone for future public popular celebrations in the city that still exist today. The event was well received and continued until it was suspended during the American Civil War.

Mardi Gras was one of the first local institutions to be revived after the war. It reappeared in 1866 and has continued to grow in modern times. Louisiana is the only state in which Mardi Gras 2023 is a legal holiday


February 21