Celebrating Fat Tuesday in New Orleans

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Fat Tuesday is here again! While it’s just an ordinary Tuesday for most of the country, in New Orleans, Fat Tuesday means it’s Mardi Gras, the culmination of Carnival season. Hundreds of thousands of revelers line the parade route well before dawn in anticipation of hundreds of decorative floats and marching bands.

Fun Mardi Gras Facts:

  • Mardi Gras, which in French means “Fat Tuesday,” has been celebrated in New Orleans since the 1700’s.
  • The first Mardi Gras parade appeared in 1857.
  • The Mardi Gras season attracts more than one million visitors to the New Orleans area.
  • More than 70 parades roll through the streets of New Orleans during Carnival Season with tens of thousands of maskers on board throwing millions of plastic beads, glass beads, and other trinkets.
  • Mardi Gras has been a legal holiday in New Orleans since 1875.
  • The tradition of throwing items such as beads, plastic cups and trinkets from the floats to parade-goers dates back to Renaissance Europe. In New Orleans, the first person to do so was a Krewe (the name of a carnival organization) member dressed as Santa Claus in the 1880s.
  • Revelers of all ages are encouraged to join float riders by dressing up and masking on Mardi Gras Day.
  • Fat Tuesday is celebrated the day before Ash Wednesday, the start of the 40-day solemn Lenten season observed by Christians which leads up to Easter Sunday.
  • More than 500,000 king cakes are sold each year in New Orleans between January 6 (King’s Day) and Fat Tuesday, and another 50,000 are shipped out-of-state via overnight couriers. 

For more information, visit neworleans.com

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