Mardi Gras aka Fat Tuesday, is a vibrant and colorful festival marking the last day of the Carnival season (celebration for the start of Spring) before the start of the Lenten season (period of penance and fasting in preparation for Easter). The name came from the tradition of clearing out the home of indulgences such as eggs, milk, meat, and fatty foods by eating all of it before having to fast from it during the 40-day Lent (which beings on the next day - Ash Wednesday and ends on Holy Thursday - 3 days before Easter Sunday.)
What's the origin?
The roots of Mardi Gras can be traced back to ancient pagan celebrations, where people would engage in feasting and revelry to mark the arrival of spring. Over time, these celebrations became associated with the Christian calendar, and today Mardi Gras is celebrated on the day before Ash Wednesday.
One of the most famous Mardi Gras celebrations takes place in New Orleans, Louisiana. The first Mardi Gras in New Orleans was held in 1837, and since then the city has become famous for its elaborate parades, fabulous costumes, and joyful partying. The highlight of the New Orleans Mardi Gras is the procession of elaborately decorated floats, which are accompanied by marching bands and thousands of revelers in costume.
Another popular Mardi Gras tradition is the tossing of "throws". Participants in the parades throw strings of colorful beads, moon pies, and other trinkets to the crowds lining the streets. This tradition is said to have originated in the 1880s, when people would throw candy and other treats from their balconies to the crowds below.
So why is Mardi Gras such a beloved and enduring tradition? For many, it's a chance to let loose and have some fun before the solemnity of Lent. For others, it's a celebration of community, friendship, and the joy of life. Whatever the reason, there's no denying that Mardi Gras is a celebration like no other.
In conclusion, Mardi Gras is a celebration that has been enjoyed for centuries, and its rich history and vibrant traditions continue to inspire people all over the world. So, whether you're celebrating in New Orleans, or at a local party in your town, get ready to party like it's Fat Tuesday and have some fun! Laissez les bon temps rouler!