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The entire state of Louisiana seems to celebrate Mardi Gras, but do you know about the history and traditions behind the celebration?

How did Mardi Gras get it's start?

Mardi Gras has been called the biggest party on the planet and seeing how it originated in Europe and is still celebrated there as well as in North and South America, it just might be the biggest party ever! While Mardi Gras is known for a certain level of debauchery, it finds its roots in Christianity. Mardi Gras was made an official holiday in 1582 when Pope Gregory XIII placed it on his Gregorian calendar on the day before Ash Wednesday. Loosely translated, Mardi Gras means Fat Tuesday... meaning the day you eat and drink your fill and get out all your sins before the Lenten season begins.

Mardi Gras is all about fun, food, and family so no matter where you live, grab some beads, crank up some Zydeco, make something good to eat, and let the good times roll!

Who was the first to celebrate Mardi Gras in the United States?

This has long been a point of contention, but Mobile, Alabama claims to host the oldest Mardi Gras celebration in the United States. In case you've ever been involved in the who had Mardi Gras first fight between New Orleans and Mobile, AL, here's what History.com has to say on the subject:

Mardi Gras is believed to have arrived in North America on March 3, 1699, when the French-Canadian explorer Pierre Le Moyne d’Iberville camped about 60 miles downriver from the future site of New Orleans. Knowing it was Fat Tuesday back in France, Iberville named the spot Point du Mardi Gras and held a small gala. A few years later, French soldiers and settlers feasted and wore masks as part of Mardi Gras festivities in the newly founded city of Mobile (present-day Alabama). To this day, Mobile claims to have the oldest annual Mardi Gras celebration in the United States.

Notice, that they use the word 'claims.' Just throwing that out there;) Happy Mardi Gras y'all!

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Gallery Credit: Bruce Mikells

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