Mardi Gras is a celebration of Christ’s incarnation as God, as revealed in the New Testament. The divine nature of Jesus came to light with the visit of Biblical Magi, that is, Three Wise Men or Three Kings to the Christ (4 BC) bearing gifts like gold, aromatic materials used in incense and perfumes, and myrrh.
However, harvesting festivals like Saturnalia (Rome) and Kronia (Greek) have been part of the human civilization from the very beginning. Most of the festivals that coincided with the timings of Mardi Gras became part of it.
History of Mardi Gras Celebration
The origin of Mardi Gras in New Orleans can be traced to medieval Europe, passing through Rome and Venice in the 17th and 18th centuries to the French House of the Bourbons. The credit of starting the festival in New Orleans, US, goes to the French-Canadian explorer and colonist Jean Baptiste Le Moyne Sieur de Bienville. In the quest of finding a colony for Louisiana, on March 2, 1699, he reached at a plot of ground 60 miles directly south of New Orleans. As it was the carnival time in France, he named the colony “Pointe du Mardi Gras.”
Why was it named Mardi Gras?
Mardi Gras, Beef Fat or Fat OX was an integral ritual of the carnival celebrated across France. The natives, particularly, the butchers community used to have a sculpted OX, cow or other animal ahead of their procession or parade. The procession comprises maskers with carriages and horseback riders.
Bienville also established “Fort Louis de la Louisiane” (which is now Mobile) in 1702. In 1703, the tiny settlement of Fort Louis de la Mobile celebrated America’s very first Mardi Gras.
The Evolution of Mardi Gras Celebration
To organize the festival, in 1704, the residents of Mobile set up a secret society called Masque de la Mobile, similar to one that manages today’s Mardi Gras krewes. The society lasted until 1709. In 1710, a new society, the “Boeuf Gras Society” was formed, which owned the festival from 1711 through 1861.
When is Mardi Gras 2019?
Mardi Gras 2019 falls on Tuesday, March 5, 2019. However, like Christmas, it’s not just a single-day festival, instead a whole season of festivity. Carnival celebration starts on January 6, the Twelfth Night (feast of Epiphany), and reaches its pinnacle at midnight on Fat Tuesday, the day before Ash Wednesday. The festival is also nicknamed as Fat Tuesday, Shrove Tuesday, Pancake Tuesday.
The carnival is celebrated across the length and breadth of the globe including United States, Belgium, Brazil, Cayman Islands, Colombia, Czech Republic, France, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Russia, Ukraine, Sweden, to name a few. However, none could catch the grandeur of New Orleans celebration, where the festival originated. Travelers from across the world plan their New Orleans vacation during this time.
Prime Attention of Mardi Gras
The New Orleans Mardi Gras celebration has two important sessions as described below:
1. Lundi Gras (This Year, it falls on Monday, March 4, 2019)
Lundi Gras ritual is observed a day before Mardi Gras. In the early celebrations around the 1870s, on this day, Rex, the King of Carnival, used to preside over the festival venue and grant his gracious permission.
The royal parade characterized by grand carriages of the king and his court mesmerizes spectators. It starts from the river and concludes at City Hall where the mayor and various city officials would present Rex with the keys to the city and grant him the temporary rule of the city beginning at sunrise on Mardi Gras morning.
Nowadays, Rex is accompanied by the King of the Zulu. The Mayor of New Orleans turns over symbolic control to the two Carnival monarchs.
The Modern Lundi Gras festival is a beautiful party with food, drink, and music on three stages. Past entertainers have included the Rebirth Brass Band, Zulu Ensemble, Dwayne Dopsie & the Zydeco Hellraisers, and Amanda Shaw. A highlight of the event is the presence of Zulu characters like Big Shot, the Witch Doctor and Mr. Big Stuff. Get your selfies and have a great time.
2. Family Gras (Friday, Feb. 22 through Sunday, Feb. 24)
Dedicated to family and kids, Family Gras is a FREE celebration of Carnival. This year, it’s shifted to a new location – Clearview Shopping Center at 4436 Veterans Memorial Boulevard, a 10-minute drive from downtown New Orleans.
Family Gras grabs the attention of most of the visitors. It’s estimated to bring 80,000 visitors each year to the city. Together with the Mardi Gras parades, enjoy the authentic New Orleans cuisine. If handcraft by local artisans is something you want to explore, take a stroll down the Art Market.
If you are with kids, it’s advisable to see the Kid’s Court overwhelmed with face painting and interactive games. The venue also hosts live outdoor musical concerts spearheaded by national and local artists. This year’s lineup includes John Oates, Michael McDonald, and Brett Eldredge. The full list and schedule will be announced soon.
When is the Best Time to Visit New Orleans?
In the wake of the Mardi Gras, the most popular time to visit New Orleans is the extended weekend before Mardi Gras (so in 2019 that would be arriving no later than March 1 or 2 and staying through Ash Wednesday, March 6). Catch the most popular parades, like Endymion, Bacchus, Zulu, Rex and all of the festive celebrations throughout the whole city.
Mardi Gras, or “Fat Tuesday,” marks the end of the Carnival season as it always falls the day before Ash Wednesday, the first day of Lent. Most visitors arrive no later than Saturday, March 2, 2019 in order to enjoy an extended weekend of festivities.
Book Mardi Gras Flights on Cheapfaremart
Take advantage of the Mardi Gras special flights and holiday at your favorite destination. Flights for Mardi Gras event are inclusive of base airfare, fuel surcharge, airlines or airports taxes and our service fee.
About Mardi Gras Flight Discounts
Cheapfaremart provides discounts on the Mardi Gras flights by waving off the service fee. At Cheapfaremart, we enjoy giving back to the community we do business in, and these Presidents Day deals are a means to do that.
Top Airports in New Orleans
- Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport (MSY) – 10 miles away from the city center
- New Orleans, LA (NEW / KNEW) New Orleans Lakefront Airport – 10 miles away from the city center
- Belle Chasse, LA (BCS / 65LA) Southern Seaplane Airport – 10 miles away from the city center
Which Airlines are offering Mardi Gras Flight Discounts?
The best airfare deals on Mardi Gras are available with all leading US and non-US based airlines including Southwest Airlines, Delta Air Lines, United Airlines, Frontier Airlines, American Airlines, Spirit Airlines, Singapore Airlines, Lufthansa, British Airways and much more.
Our affiliation with ARC (Airlines Reporting Corporation) entitles us to sell Mardi Gras travel deals with over 200 airlines including domestic and international both.
Based on the type of flight experience you want and the budget you allocate for it, you can book your flight ticket with us. Choose your flight ticket under Economy, Business or First Class travel category. You may also choose your seat using our Seat Map, provided the airline you go with allows for it.
The displayed fares for round trip Mardi Gras flights are based on historical data are non-warranted and subject to change at the time of booking. The airfares are inclusive of fuel surcharges, our service fee and taxes levied by airlines/airports/regulators.
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