Break out your purple green and golds, grab some beads, and order some King Cake, it's officially FAT TUESDAY.
Of course, when you think of Mardi Gras you probably think of booze and debauchery, which you should, but you should also think about religion, cultural history, and well, we'll say it again for the people in the back, CAKE!
Here are 7 quick Mardi Gras facts you probably didn't know!
- In French Mardi Gras literally translates into 'Fat Tuesday'. Many people think these are two different days, though they have always been the same. This day is also known as the high point of Carnival, the festival that begins on Epiphany, the Christian religious day also known as Three Kings Day (January 6th), and goes until Ash Wednesday.
- Though it is still believed by many that Mardi Gras has Pagan roots, dating back to festivals celebrating spring and fertility (Saturnalia), it is also believed that Mardi Gras came about as a result of the Catholic implementation of Lent.
- The very first Mardi Gras is said to have happened on March 3, 1699, when French explorer Pierre le Mornus d'Iberville set up camp just 60 miles downriver from present-day New Orleans. This means that the first Mardi Gras DID NOT take place in New Orleans, but what is today known as Mobile, Alabama.
- The Mistick Krewe of Comus, established in 1857, was the first and most well known Mardi Gras Krewe, establishing the first recorded street parade in Mardi Gras history.
- Mardi Gras has been fully canceled only a handful of times, mostly due to wars. The Yellow Fever outbreak of the 1870s, the Civil War, WWII, and Hurricane Katrina all caused cancellations during the big day.
- Mardi Gras is only a legal holiday in the state of Louisiana.
- While you may think New Orleans has the biggest and best Mardi Gras celebration, Quebec and Brazil are just as extravagant with their celebrations. Quebec hosts the multi-week Winter Carnival, and Brazil holds celebrations for a week straight!