Get your beads and masks ready because Mardi Gras 2016 is right around the corner. Tuesday, February 9, 2016 is the date for the main festivities this year, but the best time to visit New Orleans is the extended weekend from February 5 – 9, 2016. There are parades and parties that entire weekend.
Mardi Gras, or “Fat Tuesday,” is the last day of the Carnival season and it always lands on the day before Ash Wednesday, which is the first day of Lent. Fat Tuesday celebrations begin on or after the Christian feasts of the Epiphany (Three King’s Day) each year. It celebrates the practice of “the last night” of eating fatty foods and indulging before the Lenten season. In New Orleans, Louisiana, however, the carnival season starts from Twelfth Night (the last night of Christmas) to Ash Wednesday. In Mobile, Alabama, Mardi Gras events start as early as Thanksgiving.
Additional cities known for their Mardi Gras celebrations include Rio de Janeiro; Barranquilla, Colombia; George Town, Cayman Islands; Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago; Sydney, Australia; Quebec City, Canada; Mazatlán, and Sinaloa, Mexico.