Mardi Gras 2020 may be in the books, but we’re already looking forward to next year. So, when is Mardi Gras 2021 and beyond?
Fat Tuesday will fall earlier next year on February 16, 2021, which is nine days earlier than it was in 2020.
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The day on which we celebrate Mardi Gras all depends on Easter. Fat Tuesday is also always the day before Ash Wednesday.
Easter falls on the first Sunday following the Paschal Full Moon, or the first full moon that occurs on or after the day of the spring equinox, March 21, according to the Farmer’s Almanac.
The Farmer’s Almanac explains that’s why Easter is a movable holiday, occurring anywhere from late March to late April. March 22 is the earliest Easter can occur on any given year, and April 25 is the latest.
According to the Astronomical Society of South Australia, “astronomers approximated astronomical full moon dates for the Christian church, calling them Ecclesiastical Full Moon dates.”
The Easter Dating Method was “achieved in 1583 A.D. using skill and common-sense by Pope Gregory XIII and his astronomers and mathematicians, predominantly Lilius and Clavius, by introducing their new larger (revised) PFM Gregorian dates table,” according to Astronomical Society of South Australia.
To sum things up, the calculation has everything to do with Mardi Gras and when we celebrate it. Usually set 47 days before Easter, Mardi Gras could fall on any Tuesday between Feb. 3 and March 9.
It’s no secret that Mardi Gras is always celebrated the day before Ash Wednesday, the first day of Lent. Lent is observed among the Catholic Church and some Protestant churches leading up to Easter as a time of repentance, marked by fasting, abstinence, prayer and alms giving.
Check out the Mardi Gras schedule for the next five years:
2021: Feb. 16
2022: March 1
2023: Feb. 21
2024: Feb. 13
2025: March 4
Practice your math skills and plan ahead for future Mardi Gras. Click here for a list of Easter dates through 2299, courtesy of the Astronomical Society of South Australia.
Not ready to let go of Mardi Gras quite yet? FOX 8 Carnival historian Arthur Hardy gives a little history of Mardi Gras, and where it all began in New Orleans.