Fat Tuesday fun facts!

Tuesday, February 12, 2013 - 12:00pm

We all know how to celebrate Mardi Gras Day, but did you know...

  • Mardi Gras, which is the French translation for Fat Tuesday, is a religious observance that has its roots in a Roman pagan festival.
  • The name “Fat Tuesday” comes from the custom to indulge on sweets and meats that Christians, especially Roman Catholics, traditionally forego during the Lenten period.
  • Mardi Gras is also known by the name “Carnival,” which translates to mean “Eat all the meat.”
  • The day following “Fat Tuesday” is known as Ash Wednesday.
  • Lent lasts for 40 days, which culminates in the observance of Easter.
  • According to historians, French-Canadian explorer, Jean Baptiste Le Monyne Sieur de Bienville instigated the first American Mardi Gras on March 3, 1699, after landing close to New Orleans, on a spot he named “Pointe du Mardi Gras.”  That spot is known today as Mobile, Alabama.
  • In 1827, some Louisiana students returned from a trip to Paris and decided to revive the tradition in Louisiana, which had been lost due to Spanish control of New Orleans.
  • In the early 19th century, the public celebration of Mardi Gras consisted mainly of maskers on foot, in carriages and on horseback. In 1837, a costumed group of revelers walked in the first documented “parade,” but the violent behavior of maskers during the next two decades caused the press to call for an end to Mardi Gras.
  • In 2002, some 15 parades in New Orleans during the first week of celebrations were pushed ahead by one week to avoid a conflict with the rescheduled NFL's Super Bowl.  The cause – the terrorist attacks which occured on September 11, 2001. In a hotly negotiated settlement, Orleans Parish krewes whose parades were displaced were reimbursed $20,000 each for their losses.  This year, the Orleans Parish parade calendar was pushed ahead one week again, due to Super Bowl XLVII.
  • Now, Carnival Season is one of the leading sources for tourism revenue in New Orleans, as well as the state. The tourism industry generates over $9 billion in revenue for the state annually. According to the New Orleans Tourism Marketing Corporation, past years generated over $1 billion for New Orleans alone during Carnival Season. Roughly 40 percent of New Orleans' tax revenues come from tourism, and nearly 85,000 people have jobs to collect that needed cash.


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