Mardi Gras is the last big party of winter. It is the last day of Carnival, a word derived from "Carnevale," which means "goodbye meat." On Mardi Gras, revelers indulge in food, drink, and more in anticipation of Lent, the 47 days and nights of austerity that precede Easter. The day after Mardi Gras (Fat Tuesday) is Ash Wednesday.
When is Mardi Gras?
The timing for Mardi Gras is set according to Easter, which is scheduled for the first Sunday after the full moon following the spring equinox. Mardi Gras is back-dated 47 days before Easter and can take place anytime between February 3 and March 9.
Here are upcoming dates for Mardi Gras. Remember that these dates are all Tuesdays. To get the most out of a vacation planned around Mardi Gras, expect to arrive no later than the Saturday before Fat Tuesday.
- Mardi Gras 2012: February 21
- Mardi Gras 2013: February 12
- Mardi Gras 2014: March 4
- Mardi Gras 2015: February 17
- Mardi Gras 2016: February 9
- Mardi Gras 2017: February 28
- Mardi Gras 2018: February 13
- Mardi Gras 2019: March 5
- March Gras 2020: February 25
Where to Celebrate Mardi Gras in the United States
The most famous place to celebrate Mardi Gras in the United States is in the city of New Orleans. But it is not the only place to go for a carnival atmosphere. Mardi Gras tradition is strongest in America where French and/or Catholic communities settled. The popularity of the New Orleans' Mardi Gras party atmosphere has also meant that many big cities and communities throughout the U.S. now celebrate Mardi Gras as a way of getting through the last cold days of winter and looking forward to spring.
Mardi Gras in New Orleans
New Orleans is synonymous with Mardi Gras. Every year, hundreds of thousands of visitors go to New Orleans to watch Mardi Gras parades, over-indulge in Cajun cuisine, listen to music, and soak in the Crescent City's particular brand of lively hospitality. Our guide to New Orleans has everything you need to know about Mardi Gras in the Big Easy.
- What to Know Before You Go to Mardi Gras in New Orleans
- Mardi Gras for Beginners
- Best Mardi Gras Parades in New Orleans
- New Orleans Mardi Gras Krewes in Order of Appearance
- Mardi Gras Indians
- Mardi Gras in New Orleans for Kids
- Best Hotels for Mardi Gras in New Orleans
- Official Website for Mardi Gras in New Orleans
Mardi Gras in Mobile, Alabama
Purported to be the oldest carnival celebration - even older than that of New Orleans - is the Mardi Gras in Mobile, Alabama. The first known Mardi Gras celebration in the United States took place in the coastal Alabama town in 1703. The guide to Southeast U.S. Travel has written about Mardi Gras in Mobile and other locations, including Orlando and the Mississippi Gulf Coast.
Mardi Gras in Texas
Texas is another place to celebrate Fat Tuesday, with Galveston having one of the most famous events, complete with floats, food, and music. Our Texas guide has also written about the Southeast Texas Mardi Gras, which has been providing family-friendly Mardi Gras in Port Arthur since the 1990s.
Mardi Gras in St. Louis, Missouri
While Mobile has the oldest Mardi Gras, St. Louis claims to have the biggest Mardi Gras event outside of New Orleans. Soulard is St. Louis' best known Mardi Gras party. But there are a number of other balls and parades that take place all over St. Louis when it's Mardi Gras time.