Mardi Gras is more than an excuse for adults to act naughty and get crunk in the middle of the week. French for “Fat Tuesday”, Mardi Gras occurs the day before Ash Wednesday and represents the last chance people have to eat rich foods before the 40 day season of fasting and prayer begins for Lent. It is called Carnival in some regions, Latin for “farewell to the flesh.”
It’s origins date as far back as the Second Century, when Ancient Romans held a circus-type festival in mid-February, Mardi Gras history, celebrations, and traditions vary significantly from place to place. Asian, European and Latin American countries all have their own spin on the pre-Lent celebration, and in the United States, regions with French roots (like New Orleans) usually party the hardest.
The rich history and widespread appeal of this holiday means that no matter where you live, there is probably a Fat Tuesday celebration that will appeal to you. Below is a quick list of Mardi Gras-themed events across the United States found on Brown Paper Tickets. Find one close to you and “let the good times roll”!
19th Annual Subterranean Mardi Gras Ball
March 4, St. Louis, MO
This year’s costume theme is DISCO! Proceeds fund the “Soulard Social Aid And Pleasure Club” Mardi Gras Krewe and support the local Boys and Girls Club.
7th Annual Nardi Gras!
March 4, New York, NY
A Big-Apple-Meets-The-Big-Easy dance party raunchfest with Daniel Nardicio. Dress code: Down and Out in Nola, Cajun realness, Voodoo High Priest, or Beadwhore. (Clothes check provided.)
Jubilee Mardi Gras Party & Silent Auction
March 5, Seattle, WA
Combines the fun of Mardi Gras with supporting the community through a silent auction, to benefit Jubilee Women’s Center. Beads, black jack tables, wine ring toss, raffles and a Cajun-inspired menu.
Mardi Gras Ball 2011: Starstruck! A Night at the Movies
March 5, Seattle, WA
A semi-formal celebration with dinner, music, dancing from Les Faeries Vertes, Seattle’s first Mardi Gras krewe, to raise funds for The Marsha Rivkin Center for Ovarian Cancer Research.
39th LD Democrats Mardi Gras
March 5, Everett, WA
Celebrate Mardi Gras with dinner, music, dancing and good fun. Music with Jack Cook and The Phantoms of Soul, a group specializing in bringing music from New Orleans to Seattle.
Bud Light Party Tent
March 5, St. Louis, MO
Ghe Bud Light Party Tent is a large climate-controlled tent that can hold as many as 2000 Mardi Gras Revelers. Unlimited samples of Bud Light, Southern Comfort Hurricanes, and soft drinks.
Date Night: Mardi Gras Celebration! Now We’re Cookin’
March 5, Evanston, IL
We supply the beads, you and your date cook up classic N’Orleans dishes, and by the end of the night you’ll be planning your mask for the official celebration come Fat Tuesday.
Indianapolis Carnaval Brazil
March 5, Indianapolis, IN
A multi-media Carnaval dance extravaganza with music, art, food, drink and free custom designed Cultural Cannibals Carnaval masks for the first 100 guests.
Mardi Gras San Francisco Style/Fat Tuesday in the Fillmore
March 5 March 8, San Francisco, CA
5th Annual Mardi Gras Masquerade Ball/Fundraiser is a four day celebration of music and tradition in San Francisco’s Fillmore District, culminating with annual Masquerade Ball on Fat Tuesday.
Hydrate presents….MASQUERADE with the Perry Twins!!!
March 5, Chicago, IL
A Mardi Gras celebration with special VIP Hosted Bar reception for hot DJ duo, The Perry Twins, and a fierce mask competition at Midnight.
Radio Milwaukee Mardi Gras
March 8, Milwaukee, WI
Celebrate Fat Tuesday Radio Milwaukee style as 88 Nine Radio Milwaukee presents “The” Mardi Gras party, with a Mardi Gras dance set before Mucca Pazza hits the stage.
ART Mardi Gras Celebration
March 8, Buffalo, NY
A Carnival celebration by the American Rep Theater of WNY. Featured readings that tastefully celebrate the heritage and culture of Louisiana with the revelry associated with Carnival.
Mardi Gras with Sixpoint Brewery
March 8, New York, NY
Back Forty’s third annual Mardi Gras event with Sixpoint Brewery. This year we’re celebrating Fat Tuesday with a Brazilian style Carnival Feast; a four course dinner with wine pairings.
Nation Beat Live
March 10, Honolulu, HI
Brazil-Brooklyn Big Beat Band straight from NYC. Get your Mardi Gras on with this high-energy band that has blown Willie Nelson away.
Mardi Gras at the Aerialdrome
March 11, Seattle, WA
Celebrate Fat Tuesday on a Friday at the Emerald City Circus. The Climax of Carnevale boasts incredible feats on the high flying trapeze combined with aerial acts, performance art and dance.
2nd Annual Carnaval de Barranquilla in Chicago Party!
March 11, Chicago, IL
EL CARNAVAL DE BARRANQUILLA is Colombia’s biggest street party and Latin America’s biggest Mardi Gras celebration after Rio de Janerio.
Macy Blackman & The Mighty Fines at the Second Saturday Salon
March 12, Oakland, CA
Second Saturday Salon is a recurring event each month. In celebration of Mardi Gras, this month we will feature some good ole New Orleans music.
Image courtesy of velo_city’s Flickr photostream