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The festival is celebrated differently depending on the country in which you live. and sometimes the different regions in a country. For example, in New Orleans, Louisiana, USA, Carnival begins each year on Jan. 6, known as “Twelfth Night,” and lasts through Mardi Gras, the day before Ash Wednesday,  which falls on February  22 in 2023.  In Brazil, they begin the Mardi Gras  (as opposed to Carnival) on the Friday before Ash Wednesday and continue until 2:00 pm on Ash Wednesday. In most places, Mardi Gras refers to the Day before Ash Wednesday.   

Mardi Gras dates back to pagan celebrations of spring and fertility, which took place thousands of years ago. When the ritual arrived in Rome, Pope Gregory XIII decided to incorporate the traditions into the faith in 1582.  As Christians spread around the globe, so did these pre-Lenten celebrations.  There were Mari Gras celebrations in Bavaria, however, when SSNDs came in contact with the celebrations in New Orleans in 1857,  they encountered a very different celebration.

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