Feast Your Eyes on These Fat Tuesday Deals

mardi gras day parade

Mardi Gras, also called Fat Tuesday, Pancake Tuesday, or Shrove Tuesday, is a yearly Carnival or Carnaval celebration that is usually in February or March. It starts during or after Three Kings Day, the Christian feasts of the Epiphany, and ends on the day before Ash Wednesday. Today, Mardi Gras is a holiday that has evolved beyond the local New Orleans celebrations and is a festive time in many countries around the world.

The History of Mardi Gras

The holiday we know as Mardi Gras started in medieval Europe. The longstanding tradition was linked to pagan and fertility rites in December during the winter solstice, which then became associated with Christmas. What was originally called "fatted calf" or "Boeuf Gras" spread through Rome and Venice in the 17th and 18th centuries and on to the French house of the Bourbons. When French-Canadian explorer Jean Baptiste Le Moyne Sieur de Bienville came 60 miles directly south of New Orleans, he named the plot of ground "Pointe du Mardi Gras" after he and his men realized it was the eve of the Boeuf Gras holiday. In 1702, he founded Fort Louis de la Louisiane, now Mobile, Alabama, which celebrated its first Mardi Gras the following year.

Bienville established the city of New Orleans in 1718, and Mardi Gras was openly celebrated by the 1930s. In the early 1740s, Marquis de Vaudreuil, Louisiana's governor, started the elegant society balls that became the basis for today's Mardi Gras. The city also held street processions of floats, maskers, carriages, and horseback riders with gas-lit torches held by krewe members. Masked balls then became the norm.

The Rex, or King of Carnival, was invented in 1872. His role was to preside over the first daytime parade. In 1873, people constructed the floats entirely in the city instead of in France.

Why Mardi Gras Is Important

Mardi Gras is known as "the greatest free show on earth." It's a local holiday that is deep in the DNA of New Orleans but with a spirit that everyone wants to celebrate. Mardi Gras is the French name for Fat Tuesday, a Christian holiday in which people eat fatty, rich foods before the Lenten season sacrifices and fasting. This part of Shrovetide, known as pre-Lenten season or Forelent, is called Shrove Tuesday in the United Kingdom. The word "shrove" comes from the word "shrive," meaning "to absolve or administer the sacrament of confession to." It's important for Christians around the world, especially Roman Catholics. The holiday is an extravagant and happy festival that allows for indulgence and creativity for the week-long period it lasts.

Types of Mardi Gras Deals to Look for

There are certain businesses that offer deals and discounts on Mardi Gras, such as restaurants and travel agencies. Some apps also offer savings for the holiday. You can get deals on the local level or travel to another state, even right in the Mardi Gras hometown of New Orleans.

Restaurants and Bars

Applebee's and Buffalo Wild Wings are examples of famous national chains that are likely to have dining deals for Mardi Gras. Some smaller chains also have special offers, such as Fat Tuesday, Razzoo's Cajun Cafe, Fatz Cafe, and Dingers. Or you can stop by an independent, local restaurant or bar near you, such as Mardi Gras Tuesday or Tokio Pub.

Food Delivery and Coupon Apps

If you're into digital coupons or ordering food for delivery or pickup, you're in luck. Several businesses, including restaurants, have made it easy to take advantage of savings for Mardi Gras. Check out food delivery and coupon apps for the best deals on Mardi Gras at local businesses near you.

Local Events

If Mardi Gras celebrations have made it big in your city, you're likely to find local events for the festivity. Georgia and Florida, for example, have a Mardi Gras 5k run. The tickets are low in price and serve as fundraisers to support non-profit organizations in the local community.


Flights, carnival cruise lines, Mardi Gras tour packages, and New Orleans casinos and resorts all offer savings during the week-long celebration of Fat Tuesday. Many people travel to New Orleans to celebrate, with some making it a regular trip every year.


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Order from local pizzerias with Slice Life and save $5 off your first 3 orders with code HUNGRYX3!


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Love gumbo from your hometown, but live 1,000 miles away? Goldbelly understands. They deliver local foods from around the US, right to your door. This includes all your favorite Mardi Gras treats! And you can save $25 off orders $100+ with code 3ELLY25 or join their rewards program to save up to $30 off orders $50+ with points redemption.


Save an extra 20% off local events and dining, including at places near you that sell delicious gumbo, beignets, and other Mardi Gras favorites.

Uber Eats

Order from local restaurants near you and save $25 off your first order with code US25WELCOME.


Need a drink to go with all that food? Get alcohol delivered ASAP and save $10 off your first order of $30 or more with code FOLLOW10.

Total Wine

Celebrate Mardi Gras by trying something new! Sign-up today and save 10% off on select spirits! Delivered straight to you.

Body Glove

Continue the celebration at a pool party or at the beach with fashion and swimgear with Body Glove. Use our exclusive code for 20% off full priced items. Some exclusions apply. Expires 3/23.

Low-Budget Ways to Celebrate Mardi Gras

There are many ways to still celebrate Mardi Gras if you're low on money or supplies. The extravagant holiday can be a local festivity among family and friends, or it can make use of free spectator events. You don't have to travel to New Orleans and spend a lot of money to celebrate Mardi Gras. Being flexible with flights, taking advantage of travel rewards, reserving an Airbnb over a hotel, and staying within a few miles from the center of the action can save you hundreds of dollars. You don't have to celebrate in its hometown, either: Mobile, Alabama, was where the first Mardi Gras parade was held, and Pensacola, Florida, has a Grand Mardi Gras Parade.

DIY Ways to Celebrate Mardi Gras

Get creative for Mardi Gras as you celebrate this special occasion. Here are a couple of fun ideas for you and your family and friends to celebrate the holiday.

Celebrate with special recipes at home

There are several drink and food recipes that are perfect for celebrating Mardi Gras at home:

  • Desserts or pastries, such as king cake (also called three king's cake) and beignets

  • Popular foods such as muffaletta, which was made common by Italian immigrants in New Orleans

  • Classic cocktails, such as the hurricane cocktail of the French Quarter and the sazerac, the official cocktail of New Orleans since 2008

Homemade masks

Just because you can’t make it to the official celebration, you can still look the part with a do-it-yourself mask. This is especially great for kids. Get some inexpensive paper masks and craft supplies for a party and decorate your own masks.

Dress the part

Plastic beads along with gold, green, purple, and sparkly items from your closet can give you a celebratory look. Add some makeup if you like and you are good to go.

Watch Mardi Gras live

With modern technology, you can live stream Mardi Gras events from New Orleans. It’s the next best thing to being there.

Frequently Asked Questions About Mardi Gras

Is there a Mardi Gras Day?

Yes, Mardi Gras is celebrated every year in several countries around the world.

Why is Mardi Gras celebrated?

Mardi Gras is the French version of Fat Tuesday, a Christian holiday of indulgence before the sacrifices and fasting of Lent begin.

On what day is Mardi Gras celebrated?

Mardi Gras is celebrated on the Tuesday before Ash Wednesday, which will fall on March 1 in 2022.

about the author

Tiara Rea-Palmer
Director of Partnerships
As an expert in online savings and an avid deal enthusiast, Tiara heads up retail relations at CouponFollow, where she stays up-to-date on all the best deals, discounts, and freebies, as well as negotiates exclusive coupons and offers for CouponFollow users. In her free time, you can find Tiara writing, DIY crafting on a budget, and traveling with free rewards card miles.