This question is
asked because most people have absolutely no knowledge, about the holiday, and
will subsequently phrase the question in the wrong way. So the first task is to
correctly phrase the question. To do this, we will have to first explain the real
meaning of the words, "Mardi Gras".
The words, "Mardi Gras", is in the French language. Broken down, the
words are, "Mardi", French for "Tuesday". "Gras",
in French, means "Fat".
In translating French to English, the last word spoken should be, (more or less)
the first word translated. Therefore following this loose rule, the translation
comes to mean, "Fat Tuesday".
Now that we have the literal translation of the words, we need to know why this
one Tuesday of the year is referred too, by the French, by this given name.
In the Middle Ages,
the Catholic church prescribed what was on the daily menu. Each week during the
Lenten season, there was at least one day, and more often three or even four days
(depending on where and when in medieval Europe, you were) during which no meat
was to be eaten. For centuries, it was customary to fast by abstaining from meat
with the lone exception of fish, during Lent
those days, long ago, people, of course, had no refrigeration, to hold perishable
foods for long periods of time. Lenten season, requiring the observer to refrain
from meat, presented some interesting problems for keeping and storing foods.
Since the Lenten season is about 40 days long, in duration, meat on hand, had
to either, be eaten, before the start of the observance or discarded.
Lent always starts on the seventh Wednesday before Easter, the religious following
of Jesus, would choose the Tuesday before Ash
Wednesday to feast, before beginning the season of "fasting". This
way they could take care of two problems; the first, the hunger that goes along
with fasting. The second, how to get rid of all that food before it spoiled, because
they basically had a meatless and sometimes a very slim diet, for the next month.
The French began to refer too this day as, "Fat Tuesday" or, as spoken
in French, "Mardi Gras".
that we've established what the words really mean, this brings us to ask the more
appropriate question, which is,
is Carnival celebrating?
you can now see, "Mardi Gras is nothing more than a practical day of preparation
for the Lenten season. The day itself, celebrates or commemorates nothing. "Mardi
Gras" is simply the given name, of the day before Ash Wednesday, and the
beginning of the Lenten Season.
day, however, does commemorates the activity of preparation for the observance
of Lent. This commemoration or observance reminds us of the coming of Lent, and
the reflection of the past years of life.
holiday has for many, become the evil thing, we see each year, because they do
not understand the day or it's purpose. For many, this is the first REAL explanation
they have seen as to what they are truly celebrating.
Gras has evolved into a rowdy, happy and crazy celebration that vendors, club
owners, and others have hijacked and turned it from the quite day of feasting
at home, to the parade going, beer guzzling, breast flashing party you sometimes
see and hear about.
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