The origins of Mardi Gras can be traced back to medieval Europe. From Rome and Venice to the French House of the Bourbons. ‘Boeuf Gras,’ the traditional celebrations of the fatted calf were taken by France to her colonies.
The first ‘Mardi Gras’ on American soil took place on March 3, 1699. French explorers Pierre Le Moyne d’Iberville and Sieur de Bienville landed along the Mississippi River, (60 miles south of where New Orleans was founded in 1718).
“When they camped out at that night, they knew it was Mardi Gras back in in France,” Arthur says. “So, they named the spot ‘Pointe du Mardi Gras’ and that’s how it came to North America, at least in name.”
In the following decades, New Orleans and other French settlements began to mark the holiday with street parties, balls and private festivities.
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