Mardi Gras is defined as Shrove Tuesday or the last day before Lent and "is a day of merrymaking and carnival." Since Lent includes 40 days of fasting for some, this is one last chance to enjoy excess before going without. The word "Mardi" means "Tuesday" in French and the word "Gras" means "fat," so the translation of Mardi Gras is literally "Fat Tuesday."
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