Mardi Gras is a Christian holiday and a popular cultural phenomenon dating back thousands of years in pagan spring and fertility rites. Also known as Carnival or Carnaval, this festival is celebrated in many countries around the world, primarily those with large Roman Catholic populations. On the day before religious Lent begins, this festival will be held. Brazil, Venice and New Orleans host some of the holiday’s most popular public festivals, attracting thousands of tourists and revelers each year.

When is Mardi Gras?

Mardi Gras, also known as Shrove Tuesday, occurs annually on the Tuesday before Ash Wednesday—the beginning of the Christian observance of Lent, which lasts about six weeks and ends just before Easter. This means that the celebration can take place in either February or March.

In 2023, the Mardi Gras festival will be held on Tuesday, February 21.

Mardi Gras Dates

2023Tuesday, February 21
2024Tuesday, February 13
2025Tuesday, March 4
2026Tuesday, February 17

What is Mardi Gras?

Shrove Tuesday is a name that comes from the practice of “shriving”—purifying oneself through confession—prior to Lent. For many Christians, Shrove Tuesday is a time to receive penance and absolution.

You’ll sometimes hear Mardi Gras referred to as “Carnival.” This term refers to the period of feasting that begins on January 6 (the Feast of the Epiphany) and ends on Mardi Gras. In cities such as New Orleans (U.S.), Rio Janeiro (Brazil), and Venice (Italy), there are week-long festivals leading up to Mardi Gras.

What does Mardi Gras Mean?

In French, Mardi Gras means “Fat Tuesday.” (Mardi is the word for Tuesday and gras is the word for fat.)

This name comes from the tradition of using up the eggs, milk and fat in ones pantry because they were forbidden during the 40-day Lenten fast, which begins the next day (Ash Wednesday) and ends on Holy Thursday (three days before Easter Sunday).

Therefore, a big part of Shrove Tuesday is eating an abundance of delicious fried food—especially donuts and Shrove Tuesday Pancakes!

The word “carnival” also comes from this feasting tradition: in Medieval Latin, Carnelevarium means “to take away or remove meat”. During Lent, Catholics traditionally gave up meat during the Lenten season and mainly ate fish.

What is Mardi Gras activities?

Mardi Gras activities include wearing masks and costumes, reversing social conventions, dancing, sports competitions, parades, expressions Similar to Mardi Gras appearing in other European languages divided share in Christian tradition, as it relates to the religious requirement to confess before Lent begins.

Under New Orleans law, it’s illegal to wear a mask, except on festival days. And participants must take off their masks after 6pm. Masquerade masks are likened to “the soul of the Mardi Gras festival”. The people of New Orleans believe that wearing a mask helps them to shake off personal restrictions to participate in the festival in the most comfortable way.

Each Krewe will throw in the crowd something that represents their Krewe. For example, Krewe of Zulu will throw coconuts, and Krewe of Rex will be stuffed animals or gold coins. Among them, beads are the most popular choice. It will be a great honor for those who catch these items.

The activities

What to Wear for Mardi Gras?

Those attending can wear whatever they want, but most wear yellow, green and purple outfits with matching wigs and masks. Yellow represents power, green represents faith and purple represents justice.

Some attendees wore their own costumes. They wear full-body outfits that are oversized, bulky, and can become cumbersome when it comes to the spirit of the event. Others may choose to be more relaxed during the celebration and wear light-colored wigs with painted faces or wear masks.

You can free to choose how to wear you like. If you attend the festival with your lover, close friends or family, wearing the same Mardi Gras outfit will be a suggestion for you. The suitable costumes will help you take beautiful photos with friends and relatives.

The costumes