Happy Fat Tuesday or Shrove Tuesday! The reason today is called Fat Tuesday is because it’s the last night of eating rich, fatty foods. Today in many cities across the world people are celebrating, dancing, drinking, wearing masks, costumes and many throwing their inhibitions out the window at least until midnight. At midnight, it all comes to an end, and the Lenten season of prayer and fasting begins.
This day is celebrated in many countries, including, Belgium, Brazi, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Sweden and the United States. So why doesn’t every city in America celebrate Mardi Gras? The tradition is a French Catholic tradition and was brought to the United States in the late 17th century by Pierre Le Moyne de’Iberville. There is even a point called Point du Mardi Gras where on March 3, 1699 they landed and claimed the land for the French. Of course that point is closer to Mobile Alabama than New Orleans. Later the capital was moved to New Orleans.
In Belgium, at the Carnival of Binche, around 1,000 Gilles dance from morning until past dusk. In Brazil, Carnival is not only their hottest tourism time, but the day is observed across the country. There are massive parades and in Rio de Janeiro, over two million people will be celebrating today. In Germany, it’s called Karneval, Fastnacht or Fasching. That translates to “Eve of the Fast.” Italy calls Mardi Gras Martedi Grasso and they also celebrate Fat Thursday, Giovedi Grasso, the week before. The Netherlands call Mardi Gras, Carnaval and is mainly held in southern Netherland. In Sweden, it’s called Fastan and you eat Fastlagsbullel. Literally you are eating Fat.
While researching this article, there was an exchange I found from a person who lived in New Orleans and said that the news has made the event seem so sordid with women showing their breasts. He admitted that goes on down on Bourbon Street, but said there are a lot of the parades that you can take your children to. He says that’s only a tenth of the actual celebration and that it’s an enjoyable celebration for families and friends.
I’ve always wanted to go to New Orleans during Mardi Gras, but the crowds and the drinking have kept me at home. Maybe someday. If you celebrate Mardi Gras, have a wonderful time, be careful, and I hope you receive a lot of beads without having to show your breasts. Tomorrow I’ll see you in church.
The first person to leave a comment and tell me what “Laissez les bons temps rouler” means wins a free book. Contest ends at midnight.