If you love bright colors, glitter, and/or making decisions you'll regret in the piercing, unforgiving light of day, Mardi Gras is obviously the most wonderful time of the year. Tragically, plane tickets and hotel rooms cost money, so heading down to New Orleans, Louisiana, for the festivities is easier said than done. But that doesn't mean you can't celebrate Mardi Gras from wherever you find yourself on Fat Tuesday; all it takes is a little creativity and a lot of glitter.
Each year, Mardi Gras takes place on the day before Ash Wednesday, which marks the beginning of Lent — 46 days of fasting, including abstaining from meat, and preparing for Easter. With that in mind, it's easy to see why, over the centuries, it became tradition to cut loose in the days leading up to Lent. Eventually, the culmination of Carnival season became known as Mardi Gras, or "Fat Tuesday." Although many historians believe the first Mardi Gras parade took place in 1699, the first "krewes" didn't show up until the mid-1800s. After that, however, the holiday quickly developed into the tradition of parades, sparkles, and debauchery that we know today.
These days, the holiday remains a primarily southern American tradition, with visitors from around the nation flocking to cities like Biloxi, Mississippi; Mobile, Alabama; and New Orleans (duh) to celebrate each year. Even if you can't make it to the epicenter of the festivities this year, though, you can still join in on the fun — here are 11 ways.