Though celebrated in many places and many ways, in the United States, it's New Orleans which is synonymous with this day. The first celebration in the general vicinity of the present-day Crescent City supposedly dates back to 1699; the first recorded Mardi Gras parade there took place in 1837, and that tradition has continued each year since then. (These days there are dozens of parades over many weeks - the first one this year was on January 6th - and it all culminates with eight of them taking place today.) Fat Tuesday has been an official state holiday in Louisiana since the 1870s! I could definitely go for a tasty beignet.....
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