Mardi Gras 2012: What does Mardi Gras mean and when does it happen?

Mardi Gras 2012, also known as Fat Tuesday, is today, Tuesday, Feb. 21.

Mardi Gras, which means “Fat Tuesday” in French, is always the Tuesday immediately before Ash Wednesday. Mardi Gras is often celebrated with large meals and parties before Lent begins on Ash Wednesday.

The state of Louisiana and Mobile, Ala. celebrate Mardi Gras as a holiday. Though often associated with New Orleans, the day was first observed in Mobile when French soldiers were stationed there in 1703.

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