New Orleans Mardi Gras Parade Schedule
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Mardi Gras means "Fat
Tuesday" in French and was given
the name because of the feasting (and
partying) that would occur on this last
night before the beginning of Lent,
the Christian period of self-denial
and abstinence that ends with Easter.
Fat Tuesday can occur on any Tuesday
from Feb. 3 through March 9, but is
always 47 days before Easter. Today,
Mardi Gras is characterized by its parades.
There are more than 70 parades held
in the four parishes of Orleans, Jefferson,
St. Bernard and St. Tammany. The parades
begin in January but the full-blown
celebration that is Mardi Gras is truly
under way in the days right before and
on Fat Tuesday. Ground zero for Mardi
Gras is the French Quarter, where streets
are packed with people in search of
beads thrown by patrons from the balconies.
While the festivities have a reputation
for being awash in debauchery, many
families find the kid-friendly side
of Mardi Gras by seeking out less-crowded
and tamer areas.