“Mardi Gras” may bring up images of decorative masks, parties and parades, beads, and the colors purple, green and gold. And no city celebrates the festive cultural phenomenon Mardi Gras has become like New Orleans does. But Mardi Gras, or Fat Tuesday in French, originates from traditions related to the Christian season of Lent, a 40-day fasting period.
What is Mardi Gras?
Traditionally, Mardi Gras was a “last hurrah” – the last day to eat everything and anything before the fast and, especially, to use up any fat, eggs and dairy in the home, which is why Mardi Gras is sometimes referred to as Pancake Tuesday.
How do people celebrate Mardi Gras today?
Rather than fasting for 40 days, many people give up something special that they enjoy for the 40 days of Lent. For those who still celebrate Mardi Gras in the Christian tradition, the holiday is the last day to enjoy that one special thing, usually a food or drink, one last time before Lent begins.
When is Mardi Gras?
Mardi Gras falls is always celebrated on the Tuesday before Ash Wednesday, which is the first day of Lent. The exact date differs from year to year, depending on what date Easter falls on.
Check out the links below to learn more about the history and celebration of Mardi Gras:
Sources: holidayinsights.com, americancatholic.org, history.com