Mardi Gras Facts

Mardi Gras Facts
The Mardi Gras celebration is an annual religious celebration that was added to the Gregorian calendar in 1582 by Pope Gregory XIII. Mardi Gras, also known as Fat Tuesday, is the day before Ash Wednesday each year. It has also been known as Shrove Tuesday, and it marks the beginning of Lent, which is the 40 day period of fasting prior to Easter. Mardi Gras celebrations are held in different cities all around the world. In the United States Mardi Gras is most famously celebrated in New Orleans. Mardi Gras celebrations traditionally include parades, masked balls, and indulgence in food and alcohol. It is the last day for people to celebrate before beginning Lent and the restrictions imposed by the church.
Interesting Mardi Gras Facts:
Mardi Gras began as an extravagant celebration for Christians in Europe. It reached North America in the early 18th century.
Many countries celebrate Mardi Gras as the last day of the Carnival season.
Other names for Mardi Gras include Martes de Carnaval (in Mexico), Karneval (Germany), J'Ouvert (Trinidad), Fastan (Sweden), and Martedi Grasso (Italy).
A French Cajun phrase for Mardi Gras is ‘Laissez les bons temps rouler', which means ‘Let the good times roll'.
Some countries celebrate Mardi Gras as ‘Pancake Day', and indulge in eating pancakes. Ireland, Australia, England, Canada and New Zealand celebrate Pancake Day.
Purple, gold and green and the official colors of Mardi Gras. Purple is meant to signify justice, gold is meant to signify power and green signifies faith.
The first Mardi Gras parade in New Orleans took place in 1837.
The first floats in the parades in New Orleans Mardi Gras appeared in 1857.
The clubs that hold parades or balls at Mardi Gras are called Krewes.
In 1872 the tradition of naming kings and queens began when the Russian grand duke visited New Orleans Mardi Gras and a royal reception was held for him. The grand duke's royal colors were purple, gold and green, which became Mardi Gras' official colors.
Millions of colored beaded necklaces are thrown from floats at Mardi Gras.
When Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans in August 2005 it was believed that Mardi Gras would be cancelled the following year. It was decided that Mardi Gras would go on.
The French Quarter in New Orleans was mostly undamaged in Hurricane Katrina.
Masquerades and feasts are a big part of Mardi Gras. The ancient Roman festivals of Saturnalia and Lupercalia also featured feasts and masquerades.
The first American city to hold a parade for Mardi Gras was Mobile, Alabama.
One of the biggest Mardi Gras celebrations in the U.S. is held in Galveston, Texas.
In 1875 Louisiana named Mardi Gras a state holiday. Today is also a state holiday in Alabama and Florida.
Rio de Janeiro hosts one of the world's largest Mardi Gras celebrations in the world.
It is illegal to ride a Mardi Gras float in New Orleans if you're not wearing a mask. This law came into effect to allow people to associate with anyone they wanted to, without social barriers.

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