|pancakes by Pippaloo|
In most traditions the day is known for the eating of pancakes before the start of Lent. Pancakes are eaten as they are made out of sugar, fat, flour and eggs, whose consumption was traditionally restricted during the ritual fasting associated with Lent.
Mardi Gras was first celebrated in Louisiana on March 3, 1699 by early French settlers.
In New Orleans it is a season of parades, balls (some of them masquerade balls), and king cake parties. It has traditionally been part of the winter social season; at one time "coming out" parties for young women at débutante balls were timed for this season.
Mardi Gras has expanded to the point that it became strongly associated with New Orleans in popular perception, and Mardi Gras celebrations are part of the basis of the slogan, Laissez les bons temps rouler, (Let the good times roll) and the nickname "The Big Easy."