Mardi Gras or Fat Tuesday begins on or after King's Day and culminates on the day before Ash Wednesday.
The Carnival celebrations reflect the practice of the last night of eating richer, fatty foods before the ritual fasting of the Lenten season.
Mardi Gras in Mobile is the oldest annual Carnival celebration in the United States, having started in 1703.
In 1856, a group of business men in New Orleans formed a secret society called the Krewe of Comus to help organize the Mardi Gras festivities. An invitation to their balls were highly coveted.
The first Texas Mardi Gras celebration was in Galveston in 1867, just two years after the War Between the States. A group of the city's most distinguished citizens formed the Knights of Momus. Elaborate invitations to themed royal balls were attended by costumed revelers.
The king and queen and their royal court are chosen by each Krewe.
1885 New Orleans Mardi Gras parade with fantastical floats.
Mardi Gras colors: purple: justice, gold:power, green:faith
Laissez les bons temps rouler
"Let the good times roll."