Whether you know it as Fat Tuesday, Shrove Tuesday, or Mardi Gras, it’s happening soon! So grab your festive decorations and get ready!
The history of Mardi Gras goes back to medieval Europe. In March of 1699, Jean Baptiste Le Moyne de Bienville, a French-Canadian explorer, arrived about 60 miles south of New Orleans. He named this plot of land “Pointe du Mardi Gras” because he and the crew realized that it was the eve of Mardi Gras. In 1718, New Orleans was established by Bienville and by the 1730s, Mardi Gras was openly celebrated in New Orleans. Of course, it wasn’t celebrated as we celebrate today. It wasn’t until the 1740s that Marquis de Vaudreuil, Louisiana's governor, established the model of the New Orleans Mardi Gras balls we know today.
The following year was the first time that all the floats were constructed in New Orleans instead of France and in 1875 Mardi Gras became a legal holiday in Louisiana and it still remains a holiday today.
So, now that you know a bit about the history of Mardi Gras, you can celebrate knowing where the tradition started from!
Check Out These Great Resources Too:
Mardi Gras. (2018). Funk & Wagnalls New World Encyclopedia.
Mitchell, R. (1995). All on a Mardi Gras Day. Cambridge, Mass: Harvard University Press.
Mossman, K. (2015). The secret history of Mardi Gras. New Statesman, 144(5268), 14.
Pinckney, M. (2018, February 15). Celebrating Mardi Gras somewhere other than New Orleans. New York Amsterdam News, p. 27.