Mardi Gras is the French word for Fat Tuesday or Shrove Tuesday.
Wearing masks and costumes, dancing and participating in parades are all part of the Mardi Gras tradition. In England this day is also called Pancake Day.
Mardi Gras arrived in the USA as a French tradition in the 17th century. In New Orleans, the capital of Louisiana, this tradition expanded to the point of becoming one of the city´s major attractions. In the other states Mardi Gras (also referred to as Carnival) is not usually celebrated.