The Feel-Good Guide to Sports, Travel, Shopping & Entertainment

Main Sports Events Holidays & Observances Pop Culture Shopping Travel

Main Arrow to Home LifeHome Life Arrow to Home Life - HolidaysHolidays Arrow to Mardi Gras Fat Tuesday

What is Mardi Gras Celebrating?

Mardi Gras mask

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

In 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.

Since 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".

Now that we've established what the words really mean, this brings us to ask the more appropriate question, which is,

What is Carnival celebrating?

As 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.

The 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.

The 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.

Mardi 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.

About the Author...
MardiGrasDigest.Com .....Your Source for Carnival News!

Related Links:

More about Fat Tuesday:
  • Pancakes Shrove Tuesday

  • Shrove Tuesday Pancakes


    Privacy  |  Mission Statement  |  Contact us |  Sitemap

    All contents copyright 1999 - 2023