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Mardi Gras 2000 - The World's Biggest and Best Party

Mardi Gras in New Orleans is the world's biggest and wildest party

Mardi Gras

Mardi Gras Basics

The proverbial "bottom line" is this: "The closer Mardi Gras matches your expectations, the better time you'll have." Now, having said that, we need to set your expectations as realistically as possible. If this is your first time attending the world's largest party, it's to your advantage to learn as much as possible BEFORE you go - and not the hard way like I did. I'll give you a brief overview of Mardi Gras itself, some tips on preparing for your trip, and basic "survival" tips to use when you get there. If you need more pointers and tips, I've included additional information on pages throughout the Mardi Gras Man's site.

Mardi Gras


What is Mardi Gras?

The name "Mardi Gras" means "Fat Tuesday" in French.  Mardi Gras is always celebrated on the Tuesday before Ash Wednesday, with the idea being that you have an obligation to eat, drink, and be as merry as you possibly can before the Lent season of fasting and repentance sets in.  The Lent season lasts from Ash Wednesday until Easter.

Mardi Gras is a carnival.  The name Carnival is Latin in origin (from carnisvale, meaning "farewell to flesh").  The carnival season is the period from January 6th to Fat Tuesday.  The Carnival season is officially opened by the Krewe of the Twelfth Night Revelers ball.

The official colors of Mardi Gras are purple, green and gold.

Mardi Gras Colors

Purple Justice
Green Faith
Gold Power

 


When is Mardi Gras?

Mardi Gras is 46 days before Easter, and can be any day between 3-February and 9-March.  The 46 days include the 40 days of the Lent season and six Sundays.

Key Periods

Carnival Season 6-Jan thru Fat Tuesday
Lundi Gras Fat Monday (day before Fat Tuesday)
Mardi Gras Fat Tuesday (46 days before Easter)
Ash Wednesday Wednesday immediately following Fat Tuesday
Lent Ash Wednesday thru Easter

 


When is the best time to go to Carnival?

The best time to go to Carnival is generally during the two weeks leading up to Fat Tuesday (Mardi Gras).  Make sure to be there on Fat Tuesday!  See the chart below for key periods.


When will Mardi Gras be held in the future?

Future Mardi Gras Dates

MG 2001 27-Feb
MG 2002 12-Feb
MG 2003 4-Mar
MG 2004 24-Feb
MG 2005 8-Feb

 


What are some good Mardi Gras "Survival" tips?

-  Don't bring high-value cameras unless you're on some type of photo assignment (like yours truly). One wrong bump or a spilt drink could signal the end of your pricey camera. Use the disposable ones!

-  Before jumping into the party "head-first," talk a little walk around the French Quarter and familiarize yourself with the locations of restaurants, pay phones, first aid centers, and last but not least - porta-potties. Make a mental note of these locations.

-  Walk at the same pace as the rest of the crowd. If you need to slow down or hurry to get somewhere, get out of the main flow of foot traffic. The main foot traffic is on the sidewalks and in the very middle of the streets.

-  If you accidentally bump into somebody, apologize immediately; otherwise you could be mistaken for a pick-pocket or someone trying to pick a fight.

-  Hold your drink and cigarette (if you are a drinker and/or smoker) in front of you while walking through the crowd, and never to your side. The drink will accidentally get knocked out of your hand, and the fire from your cigarette could easily make you the new owner of someone else's' expensive clothes.  Likewise, don't wear expensive clothes!


How should I prepare for my trip to Carnival?

You can NEVER prepare enough; however I feel the tips listed below are the most important.

-  If you don't already exercise regularly, it's time to get in shape. Most likely, you'll be doing a lot of walking and dancing at Mardi Gras. I've known a number of people who have had to "sit out" for an entire day because they were SORE!

-  Bring several extra changes of clothes for the weather and possible accidents you might be involved in.  The weather in New Orleans can change drastically, so be prepared for whatever the weather has to offer.   Also, you never know when somebody is going to spill a drink or barf all over you. Finally, be advised that I have seen SOME beads lose their color in the rain…and guess where the color ends up?

-  If you are on prescription medication and are required to carry it with you at all times, leave some stand-by in your hotel room.   Chances are, you will not have your pockets picked or your purse stolen; but if you do, it would be nice to know that you still had extra medicine tucked away back at the hotel.

-  Make sure to bring a hat.  Standing out in the sun for long periods can be draining.

-  Bring comfortable shoes.  Whether you plan to or not, you will be doing LOTS of walking, and maybe even some dancing.


Where can I learn all the Mardi Gras "lingo?"

The best to learn the Mardi Gras "lingo" is to attend and learn as you go along.  By the time you've read your hotel guide, Mardi Gras showcase guides, newspaper articles and other sources, you should pretty much be an expert.  Well, surprise!  Mardi Gras Man has decided to give you a little, "jump-start" on the Mardi Gras "lingo."  Click here for our crash course!

Mardi Gras