Mardi Gras, which means Fat Tuesday in French, is celebration that starts on the Tuesday before Ash Wednesday. It is celebrated by millions all across the world and is often known as Carnival. Mardi Gras signifies one day while Carnival encompasses the whole season and begins a period of feasting which starts on Jan. 6, also known as Feast of the Epiphany.
For the carnival season, many places hold weeks-long extravaganza complete with parades, which often feature colorful floats and people in costumes, as well as other events.
In the United States, many southern cities like New Orleans, Louisiana and Mobile, Alabama participate in the celebration.
In Rome, when Christianity became the prominent religion of the country, it was decided that local traditions would be incorporated with Christian holidays. With Mardi Gras being one of them, the celebration starts before Lent, a practice in which Christians fast for 40 days until Easter Sunday, according to History.com.
As Christianity gained popularity, so did Mardi Gras. Both of them spread to other European countries like France, Germany, Spain and the United Kingdom.
After making a name for itself in other countries, Mardi Gras started to make a presence in other places like Austria, Brazil, Italy, Portugal, Russia, Switzerland, and Trinidad and Tobago, according to Curious Cuisiniere.
Germany, Italy, Switzerland, and Trinidad and Tobago have the longest carnival celebrations, some of them last for several months from the previous year.
For 2024, Mardi Gras is on Tuesday Feb. 13. As many prepare for this year’s celebration, take a look at how revelers are taking part in festivities now and have in years past all around the world.