Celebrate the History of Mardi Gras

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The celebration of Mardi Gras is almost upon us. With this year’s events already fast approaching, here are some things about the history of the carnival so you’re prepared for the festivities next week on the 28th.

Mardi Gras is French for Fat Tuesday. Along with a big party, the main reason for celebration during this time is eating rich, fatty foods before the season of Lent, which always begins on Ash Wednesday. It’s the perfect excuse to indulge in your most-sugary cravings, even if you won’t be participating in Lent in the following weeks.

The parties around the United States for the holiday vary. In New Orleans, Louisiana, a city famous for its Mardi Gras traditions, they celebrate from the last night of Christmas to Ash Wednesday. in Mobile, Alabama, the city starts partying all the way back in November, up to Fat Tuesday. Those are both pretty long cheat periods, but it’s only a small portion of the year right? Mardi Gras is a worldwide celebration, though, with other countries participating ranging from Canada to Italy to Colombia.

New Orleans and Mobile are the hubs of Mardi Gras because of two French travelers named Pierre Le Moyne, and Jean-Baptiste Le Moyne de Bienville. In the late 17th century, they journeyed through the region that included parts of Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana and Texas, and traveled up the Mississippi River. The pair made camp on March 3, 1699, the day of Mardi Gras, and Iberville named the spot “Point du Mardi Gras.” This spot is where New Orleans resides now. The other traveler, Bienville, went on to found the settlement of Mobile, where French settlers first partied for Mardi Gras back in 1703.

The first Mardi Gras parade celebrated in New Orleans took place in 1837, about a century after it was named the capital of Louisiana. It is embraced by residents beyond Catholic or French heritage, and many Americans travel to the city to experience authentic Mardi Gras.

If you’re unable to fly all the way out to the south, San Diego does have a Mardi Gras celebration of its own! While it may not be as grand at New Orleans or Mobile, the spirit can still be embraced a little closer to home. A night full of DJs, dancers, floats, drinks and more at the Masquerade Fat Tuesday Parade is only $35 if you buy your tickets before February 26th. The party goes on in Gaslamp Quarter from 5pm-midnight and is 21+. Group pricing, military discounts, and VIP tickets are also available!

Find more information about Gaslamp Mardi Gras at

“Laissez les bons temps rouler!” as they would say in Louisiana during Mardi Gras. Or, for our non-French speaking friends, let the good times roll.

Drew has lived in San Diego going on two years, and can't imagine living anywhere else. She loves the city's beaches, food, and shows. You can contact her at [email protected].

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