Occurring on any Tuesday from February 3 through March 9, Mardi Gras is tied to Easter, which falls on the first Sunday after the full moon following the Spring Equinox. Because the day before Ash Wednesday, which marked the beginning of Lent, was a day of feasting, it came to be known as Fat Tuesday or, as the French would say, Mardi Gras.
Mardi Gras 2017 is Tuesday, February 28
Although Church fathers established Easter as a movable holiday in 325, it wasn’t until 1582, under Pope Gregory XIII, that Mardi Gras became a holiday on the Christian calendar on the day before Ash Wednesday, which marks the beginning of Lent.
The underlying reasoning was to have all the foolishness and indulgence be finished when it came time to start atoning and fasting. As the climax of Carnival and a traditional day of feasting — as symbolized by the ritual slaughter of a fatted bull or ox (boeuf gras) — the celebration came to be known as Fat Tuesday, or as French would say, Mardi Gras.
Also sometimes referred to as Carnival Day, Mardi Gras is always scheduled 47 days preceding Easter (the 40 days of Lent plus seven Sundays).
Future Mardi Gras Dates
2018 – February 13
2019 – March 5
2020 – February 25
2021 – February 16
2022 – March 1
2023 – February 21
2024 – February 13