Mardi Gras, also known as Fat Tuesday in French, is a celebration that begins on the Tuesday before Ash Wednesday. It is celebrated by millions of people all over the world and is often referred to as Carnival. Mardi Gras signifies a single day, while Carnival encompasses the entire season and commences a period of feasting starting on January 6, also known as Feast of the Epiphany.
During the Carnival season, many places host weeks-long extravaganzas complete with parades featuring colorful floats, people in costumes, and other events. Cities in the southern United States, such as New Orleans, Louisiana, and Mobile, Alabama, participate in the celebration. In Rome, Mardi Gras was incorporated with Christian holidays when Christianity became the dominant religion, starting before Lent, a practice in which Christians fast for 40 days until Easter Sunday. As Christianity spread to other European countries like France, Germany, Spain, and the United Kingdom, Mardi Gras gained popularity.
The celebration then started to make a presence in other places like Austria, Brazil, Italy, Portugal, Russia, Switzerland, and Trinidad and Tobago. Germany, Italy, Switzerland, and Trinidad and Tobago have some of the longest carnival celebrations, lasting several months from the previous year. In 2024, Mardi Gras will fall on Tuesday, February 13. As people prepare for this year’s celebration, take a look at how revelers are taking part in festivities now and have done so in years past all around the world.