Mardi Gras in New Orleans is the most famous Mardi Gras celebration in the world, offering a larger-than-life and often beyond-belief spectacle of floats, costumes, and the flying Mardi Gras beads many people have heard about. It’s a Carnival to beat all Carnivals, featuring a number of parades held from Sunday (the Bacchus parade) to Fat Tuesday (the grand Zulu parade), the days leading up to Ash Wednesday and the beginning of Lent. Mardi Gras actually lasts for a month, but the most notable events occur on these 3 days.
Mardi Gras Dates Back Hundreds of Years
Mardi Gras’ origins have been traced back to the medieval ages in Europe, particularly in Rome and Venice during the 17th and 18th centuries and on to The French House of Bourbons and the French colonies. Jean Baptiste Le Moyne Sieur de Bienville, a French-Canadian explorer, arrived about 60 miles south of New Orleans in 1699. He named his destination plot of land “Pointe du Mardi Gras,” when he realized his arrival was the night before the festive European holiday. Early Mardi Gras celebrations featured parade processions and floats, just like today’s Mardi Gras in New Orleans.