Happy Fat Tuesday All! Over the weekend I went to this really awesome "Mardi Gras" party. Great beer,great food, great people! There were even gummy bears that had been soaked in Vokda for a week. I had no idea that gummy bears had plumped up to three times their regular size, and was definitely favored by everyone.
At the end of the night two guys chugged the rest of the spiked punch from the punch bowl (and yours truly has it all on video). I was reminiscing with my friend Vy over dinner last night about the party, and she reminded me that Fat Tuesday and Ash Wednesday were about to come up. From there we got into a discussion about how “Fat Tuesday" came about, as well as "Mardi Gras," and I’d like to share it with you.
"Mardi Gras" in French actually means "Fat Tuesday" which was given the name because it falls on the day before Ash Wednesday-the day that Lent begins. Lent is the 40 days before Easter, and is the season of prayer and fasting observed by the Roman Catholic Church as well as many other Christian denominations.
Easter Sunday is the day that Lent ends which means no more fasting. "Fat Tuesday" is believed to have come from the ancient pagan customs of parading around a fat ox through the streets in town. These pagan holidays were filled with excessive eating, drinking, and obscene behavior all prior to the period of fasting--hence women showing their breasts on the streets of Bourbon Street in New Orleans for brightly colored beads!
(The Carnival In New Orleans, 1885)
The celebration of "Mardi Gras" was brought to Louisiana by early French settlers, and the the first record of the holiday being celebrated in Louisiana was on March 3, 1699 at the mouth of the Mississippi River, celebrated in observance of the Catholic practice by Pierre Le Moyne d'Iberville, the
founder of the French colony of Louisiana in New France. It was also celebrated by Sieur de Bienville who was a repeated governor of French Louisiana.
In 1875 Louisiana declared "Mardi Gr
as" a legal state holiday. Unfortunate events such as war, economic, political and weather conditions led to cancellations of many of the major parades, especially during the American Civil War, World War I, and II, but the city has always celebrated Carnival.
One day I am definitely going to travel to the French Quarter and experience "Fat Tuesday" New Orleans style. What will you be doing today for Fat Tuesday?