Mardi Gras – Fat Tuesday

So the end of Mardi Gras is happening. Today is the finale of a long and fun carnival season. Did anyone out there make to New Orleans this year?


**Mardi Gras, which is French for “Fat Tuesday,” is the last day of a season called “Carnival.” The Carnival season is characterized by merrymaking, feasting, and dancing. Mardi Gras is the culmination of festivities and features parades, masquerades, and, unfortunately, often drunkenness and shameless debauchery. Carnival is typically celebrated in Catholic countries of southern Europe and Latin America.

The excess of Carnival may not seem to have much in common with the austerity of Lent, but the two seasons are inseparable. The day after Fat Tuesday is Ash Wednesday; therefore, the end of Carnival is followed immediately by the beginning of Lent. Lent is a time of fasting and penance in preparation for Easter. Carnival, then, can rightly be seen as the indulgence before the fast. It is one last “binge” before having to give something up for 40 days.

What does the Bible say about all this? There is nothing in the Bible that in any way suggests that early Christians observed either Lent or Carnival. And, of course, there is no biblical support for the kind of fleshly indulgence generally practiced on Fat Tuesday. The Bible expressly forbids drunkenness, carousing, and sexual fornication. Romans 13:13-14 says, “Let us behave decently, as in the daytime, not in orgies and drunkenness, not in sexual immorality and debauchery, not in dissension and jealousy. Rather, clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ, and do not think about how to gratify the desires of the sinful nature.”

In general, Mardi Gras revelers engage in a binge of sinning before a time of consecration to God. The celebration of Mardi Gras fosters the notion that you can do whatever you want on Fat Tuesday, as long as you show up in church on Ash Wednesday. It’s the bender before the benediction, and it’s utterly unscriptural.



New Orleans Carnival Season

It’s once again time for the Carnival Season in New Orleans to begin. So get your party hats on and head to Louisiana. There will be partying for the next couple of months until February 28th which is Fat Tuesday. There are several web sites to get the schedule of parades and events. This year is an exceptionally long carnival season. Last year it started on January 6th with Fat Tuesday being on February 9th.


* Epiphany, January 6, is the official end of the Christmas season, but it also kicks off Carnival season in New Orleans. Although some people say Carnival and Mardi Gras interchangeably, they are actually different things. Carnival is a time to eat, drink and be merry before the rigorous fasting and sacrifice during Lent.

Carnival is filled with parades, balls and other celebrations leading up to Mardi Gras, which is French for “Fat Tuesday.” Mardi Gras is always the Tuesday before Ash Wednesday. Carnival officially ends at midnight on Fat Tuesday and Lent begins.

Phunny Phorty Fellows, a band of Twelfth Night revelers, holds its annual ride on the St. Charles Streetcar January 6, also called Twelfth Night. The ride begins around 6 p.m. Joan of Arc’s birthday also celebrated on Epiphany. That celebration begins on Decatur Street with historical characters in medieval dress parading through the French Quarter.



Fat Tuesday – Shrove Tuesday – Mardi Gras

While I’ve been finding things to post about Mardi Gras, I have found out that although the Carnival Season starts January 6th the true celebration ends today with Three King’s Day.  Since today is the official end to the carnival season in New Orleans, if you  have not celebrated yet you need to get on it.  LOL  🙂mardi-gras-happy

** Mardi Gras, also called Shrove Tuesday, or Fat Tuesday, in English, refers to events of the carnival celebrations, beginning on or after the Christian feasts of the Epiphany (Three King’s Day) and culminating on the day before French for “Fat Tuesday”, reflecting the practice of the last night of eating richer, fatty foods before the ritual fasting of the Lenten season.

Related popular practices are associated with celebrations before the fasting and religious obligations associated with the penitential season of Lent. In countries such as England, Mardi Gras is also known as Shrove Tuesday, which is derived from the word shrive, meaning “confess”.




New Orleans Carnival Season

The Carnival Season begins on 1/6/16 in New Orleans. This is the warm up for Mardi Gras’s Fat Tuesday which is 2/9/16 this year. I always thought Mardi Gras started mid January and went through mid February but it does not. Apparently, they start having parades and carnival style events beginning today. These go on through the Tuesday before Ash Wednesday which is February 9th this year. I have never been to Mardi Gras even though I lived in Louisiana for several years. I don’t really like big crowds. If you have pictures or a story you would like to share to start off the 2016 Carnival Season, this is the place.


Mardi Gras in New Orleans

MardiGras cupcakeToday is called Fat Tuesday the beginning of Mardi Gras in New Orleans, Louisiana.   Give this shrimp recipe a try:

New Orleans-Style Shrimp

1 ½ lb. Large shrimp (21-25 per lb), peeled & deveined
2 tbsp. Olive oil
3 medium garlic cloves, minced
¾ tsp. Salt
2 tsp. Chili powder
2 tsp. Black pepper
4 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
1 tbsp. Fresh lemon juice
Baguette for accompaniment
Lemon wedges to garnish

Toss shrimp with all ingredients except baguette & lemon wedges and marinate at cool room temperature 15 minutes. Cook in a hot skillet about 6 minutes or until shrimp are opaque, stirring occasionally.

If grilling on skewers: Thread 4 or 5 shrimp onto each skewer & grill, turning over once, until cooked through 3-4 minutes total. Push shrimp off skewers into a bowl, then pour the following butter sauce on them and toss to combine well. Heat 6 tbsp. unsalted butter with chili powder, pepper, Worcestershire & remaining ¼ tsp. Salt in a small heavy saucepan over moderately low heat, stirring, until butter is melted, then remove from heat & stir in lemon juice.

MardiGrasBeads&Mask* A Christian holiday and popular cultural phenomenon, Mardi Gras dates back thousands of years to pagan spring and fertility rites. Also known as Carnival, it is celebrated in many countries around the world–mainly those with large Roman Catholic populations–on the day before the religious season of Lent begins. Brazil, Venice and New Orleans play host to some of the holiday’s most famous public festivities, drawing thousands of tourists and revelers every year.

According to historians, Mardi Gras dates back thousands of years to pagan celebrations of spring and fertility, including the raucous Roman festivals of Saturnalia and Lupercalia. When Christianity arrived in Rome, religious leaders decided to incorporate these popular local traditions into the new faith, an easier task than abolishing them altogether. As a result, the excess and debauchery of the Mardi Gras season became a prelude to Lent, the 40 days of penance between Ash Wednesday and Easter Sunday. Along with Christianity, Mardi Gras spread from Rome to other European countries, including France, Germany, Spain and England.

Traditionally, in the days leading up to Lent, merrymakers would binge on all the meat, eggs, milk and cheese that remained in their homes, preparing for several weeks of eating only fish and fasting. In France, the day before Ash Wednesday came to be known as Mardi Gras, or “Fat Tuesday.” The word “carnival,” another common name for the pre-Lenten festivities, may also derive from this vegetarian-unfriendly custom: in Medieval Latin, carnelevarium means to take away or remove meat.

Many historians believe that the first American Mardi Gras took place on March 3, 1699, when the French explorers Iberville and Bienville landed in what is now Louisiana, just south of the holiday’s future epicenter: New Orleans. They held a small celebration and dubbed the spot Point du Mardi Gras. In the decades that followed, New Orleans and other French settlements began marking the holiday with street parties, masked balls and lavish dinners. When the Spanish took control of New Orleans, however, they abolished these rowdy rituals, and the bans remained in force until Louisiana became a U.S. state in 1812.

On Mardi Gras in 1827, a group of students donned colorful costumes and danced through the streets of New Orleans, emulating the revelry they’d observed while visiting Paris. Ten years later, the first recorded New Orleans Mardi Gras parade took place, a tradition that continues to this day. In 1857, a secret society of New Orleans businessmen called the Mistick Krewe of Comus organized a torch-lit Mardi Gras procession with marching bands and rolling floats, setting the tone for future public celebrations in the city. Since then, krewes have remained a fixture of the Carnival scene throughout Louisiana. Other lasting customs include throwing beads and other trinkets, wearing masks, decorating floats and eating King Cake.

Louisiana is the only state in which Mardi Gras is a legal holiday. However, elaborate carnival festivities draw crowds in other parts of the United States during the Mardi Gras season as well, including Alabama and Mississippi. Each region has its own events and traditions.

Across the globe, pre-Lenten festivals continue to take place in many countries with significant Roman Catholic populations. Brazil’s week long Carnival festivities feature a vibrant amalgam of European, African and native traditions. In Canada, Quebec City hosts the giant Quebec Winter Carnival. In Italy, tourists flock to Venice’s Carnevale, which dates back to the 13th century and is famous for its masquerade balls. Known as Karneval, Fastnacht or Fasching, the German celebration includes parades, costume balls and a tradition that empowers women to cut off men’s ties. For Denmark’s Fastevlan, children dress up and gather candy in a similar manner to Halloween–although the parallel ends when they ritually flog their parents on Easter Sunday morning.