It’s Mardi Gras Time

Second Line Parade (photo by William Daley)

Helen Daley

Mardi Gras (Fat Tuesday) falls on Feb. 21 this year. The words “Mardi Gras” or “Carnival” always bring to mind New Orleans, food, parades, beads, partying, music, dancing, costumes, and masks. It started as a pagan celebration of spring and fertility thousands of years ago. Christian leaders determined it was easier to adopt the tradition rather than forbid it.

The Mardi Gras season (French for “Fat Tuesday”) officially begins every year on Jan. 6, the Feast of the Epiphany, but its conclusion varies every year, because it occurs exactly 47 days before Easter, which is the start of the Lenten season, and it falls on Tuesday, Feb. 21, this year. Party Hearty or Hardy for several weeks and then repent during Lent. Anyway, that is the theory. In current times, Mardi Gras-style parties are celebrated any time of year.

The Arizona Classic Jazz Society will celebrate the fun part of Mardi Gras on Sunday, Feb. 19, from 1 to 4 p.m. in the San Marcos Ballroom at the Crowne Plaza Phoenix-Chandler Golf Resort, One San Marcos Place, in Chandler. The Mardi Gras Jazz Band will be led by Cheryl Thurston, and jammers are welcome. Beads will be plentiful, as will Second Line Parades and dancing. Mardi Gras has its own colors: purple (justice), green (faith), and gold (power). Masks and costumes are welcome. The cost is $20 per person, paid at the door (cash or check only).

For more information, go to, or call 480-620-3941.