Mardi Gras is French for Fat Tuesday. The origin of this celebration is religious, but today it’s mostly just a big party for people of different beliefs.

Let’s talk about the origins – A while back, Catholics used to eat a lot on Fat Tuesday because as of the following day (Ash Wednesday) they would start a 40-day fast that the Church calls “Lent.” Lent, according to doctrine, represents the 40 days that Jesus spent in the desert being tempted by the Devil. Today, some Catholics do a version of fasting during Lent, be it by not eating red meat on Fridays or giving up something they like to do (like drinking alcohol or playing on social media). Many Catholics, however, don’t do any sort of fasting during Lent, so “Fat Tuesday” is not really an eating day anymore. For most of us, Fat Tuesday is just a fun day to have a couple of drinks and perhaps catch a parade (especially if you live in the Gulf Coast area of the United States.) There are also masquerade balls, for which people get dressed in fancy gowns and wear a mask on their faces. 

Some bars all over the United States hang beads and colorful decorations for Mardi Gras, although the celebration is only truly strong in the Deep South.

In Mobile, AL, and in New Orleans, the weeks before Mardi Gras are full of parades, floats, bead-throwing, and partying all over the streets. The exciting carnivals are only held in this part of the United States, in Brazil, and in Venice, Italy. 

In the United States, the first Mardi Gras celebration was held in Mobile, Alabama, in the 1730s. In this city, the colors purple and gold represent Mardi Gras. In New Orleans, purple, gold, and green are the chosen colors. People decorate their homes with those colors for most of February. 

For sure, put on your bucket list to attend a Mardi Gras celebration somewhere!