Mardi Gras will be early this year
It’s the beginning of a new year. We’ve celebrated Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s Day.
Next on the horizon will be Mardi Gras.
Mardi Gras is early again, Feb. 13. And in 2019, Mardi Gras is really late -- March 5.
So why isn’t Mardi Gras on the same day every year, like Christmas? It’s all about Easter, which isn’t on the same day every year.
Listen up, because this involves math, astronomy and religion.
Easter falls on the first Sunday following the first ecclesiastical full moon that occurs on or after the day of the vernal equinox, March 21. That means Easter can never occur before March 22 or later than April 25.
What’s an ecclesiastical full moon?
The Astronomical Applications Department of the U.S. Naval Observatory explains that “the full moon involved is not the astronomical full moon but an ecclesiastical moon (determined from Catholic Church tables) that keeps, more or less, in step with the astronomical full moon.”
The AA explains that “In 1582, Christopher Clavius and a council working at the direction of Gregory XIII (Pope of the Roman Catholic Church) completed a reconstruction of the Julian Calendar producing new Easter tables.”
So what does this have to do with Mardi Gras?
Mardi Gras is usually set 47 days before Easter. In any given year, Mardi Gras will fall on any Tuesday between Feb. 3 and March 9. These two dates are extra special, because Mardi Gras will fall on them only once in a lifetime, each occurring roughly once every 100 to 150 years.
Mardi Gras is the day before Ash Wednesday, the first day of Lent.
Now that we know when Mardi Gras is this year, and why it is on that date, Kaplan’s Krewe Chic-A-la-Pie will host their 64th annual Mardi Gras celebration downtown Kaplan with a parde.