3 Facts to Know About Mardi Gras

February 12th is Mardi Gras aka Fat Tuesday aka bring on the beads, parades, and good food – king cake anyone? Did you know that the origins of Mardi Gras can be traced back to medieval Europe? Yep, turns out old people know knew how to throw a great party.

But Mardi Gras is more than a day of celebration; it also marks the day before the start of the Christian season of Lent (which precedes Easter). Religious leaders incorporated these local traditions into the new faith, when Christianity first arrived in Rome. Check out these 3 facts about the day.

  1. Mardi Gras and Carnival are the same celebration. Although Mardi Gras refers to only Fat Tuesday, the Mardi Gras season begins on the Epiphany, a Christian holiday that’s celebrated on Jan. 6 (also called Three Kings Day or the Twelfth Day of Christmas). This period between Epiphany and Fat Tuesday is known as Carnival in Brazil and many other countries.
  2. Serving a King Cake during Mardi Gras celebrations is a tradition that honors the Magi who visited baby Jesus on the Epiphany. A plastic baby is placed inside the ring-shaped cake before baking to represent Jesus. King Cakes are decorated with purple, green, and gold – the colors of Mardi Gras.

  3. While New Orleans is synonymous with Mardi Gras, Mayor Sam Jones of Mobile, Alabama says that the first Mardi celebration took place in his city. The first ever Mardi Gras was held in 1703, just one year after the city was founded, according to the Mobile Area Chamber of Commerce.  

Throwing a Mardi Gras party? Follow these tips on how to make it eco-friendly. GO

Sources: History.com, Mardi Gras New Orleans, CNN, Reuters