Mardi Gras, which translates as "fat Tuesday," falls on a different day each year. Mardi Gras is the day before Ash Wednesday and is also known in some countries as Shrove Tuesday. The date of Easter Sunday, and therefore Ash Wednesday, changes each year.
Although the exact date changes each year, Mardi Gras is always the Tuesday before the first Sunday of Lent. Traditionally, this is the day for using up food that is not permissible during the Lenten period in order to avoid waste. In some countries, pancakes are a popular way of using up this food, which is the reason for the association of pancakes with this day.