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Today is Mardi Gras!

February 13

Today is Mardi Gras!

The day has roots in the Catholic liturgical calendar. The last day before Lent begins, Mardi Gras is traditionally a day of excess before the season of fasting and self-denial before Easter.

In the United States, Mardi Gras is particularly associated with the city of New Orleans, where large parties and parades mark the day each year. In fact, the first American Mardi Gras took place near present day New Orleans in 1699 when French explorers held a small celebration. New Orleans Mardi Gras parades began in 1827 and have continued to this day.
(Louisiana is the only state to mark the day as a legal holiday.)

Did you know? “Mardi gras” literally translates from the French to “Fat Tuesday.” The word “carnival” also has associations with the day – in medieval Latin, “carnelevarium” meant “removal of meat” as is traditional for those observing Lent.

The Parade (Circus Sideshow), Georges Seurat, c. 1887

-Written by Anna Zemaitaitis, Communications and Design Officer


February 13
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