When is Mardi Gras 2011?
Mardi Gras is French for Fat Tuesday, the day on the Christian calendar before Ash Wednesday and the beginning of Lent. It's known as "Fat" Tuesday because of the tradition of indulging in rich, fatty foods on the last night before the season of fasting begins. Even though there is only one Mardi Gras day, Mardi Gras season begins weeks earlier -- as early as November in some places -- so you'll find parades, parties, and delicious Mardi Gras fare starting long before Fat Tuesday.
The New Orleans Mardi Gras 2011 season begins on January 6th, and continues through Mardi Gras day, March 8, 2011. Though the season has already begun, and truthfully, you'll find signs of Mardi Gras all over New Orleans no matter when you visit, the real concentration of Mardi Gras events happens in the two weeks leading up to Fat Tuesday.
The first parades of the 2011 Mardi Gras season in New Orleans are on February 19th, but the schedule really picks up steam beginning one week before Fat Tuesday, so if you want to be in New Orleans for the biggest Mardi Gras celebrations, plan to arrive in the first week of March, and stick around through March 8, Mardi Gras day 2011.