Why? Because today is Mardi Gras AND it is also my 100th post! In celebration, I want to take a look at the history of Mardi Gras, and also introduce the beginning of more daily posts, meaning a few times a week, I will post in the afternoon as well. Stay tuned for fun on-goings!
Mardi Gras, always held on a Tuesday, literally translated means Fat Tuesday. It’s a time for parades, feasts and celebrations!
Who: Everyone, everywhere celebrates Mardi Gras, but it is a legal holiday for the residents of New Orleans.
What: The parties are highlighted by beads, signing and food. The bead phenomena is a relatively new and it wasn’t until the Rex parade threw inexpensive handmade glass necklaces sometime in the 1920s that the tradition was born. Even the traditional Mardi Gras bead color scheme: purple, green, and gold holds special meaning. The Purple, represents justice; the Green symbolizes faith; and the Gold exemplifies power. The King Cakes, which are available on King’s Day, January 6, immediately following the Feast of the Epiphany, are another part of the celebration. Oblong in shape, the cake included a plastic baby baked into the cake. Whomever finds the baby is the automatic King or Queen of the party, and throws the celebration or supplies the cake the following year.
When: The first Mardi Gras celebration was in 1704, when King Louis XIV sent two brothers, Iberville and Bienville LeMoyne to defend territories that are now represented by Alabama, Louisiana, and Mississippi and were still under French rule. The brothers sailed up the Mississippi River and founded the perfect spot to build a colony, Point du Mardi Gras. Now, the celebration takes place 46 days out from Easter, and the Tuesday preceding Ash Wednesday, which falls anywhere from February 3 through March 9.
Where: Mardi Gras is primarily celebrated in New Orleans, but also throughout the world. In the Netherlands, they celebrate Carnival, which is similar to the celebration of the same name in Italy. In Sweden, it’s called Fettisdagen, and is the only day one should eat a Swedish pastry, semlor. In Germany, it’s celebrated as a day of fasting prior to Ash Wednesday.
Why: Mardi Gras is celebrated, the day before the start of Lent, for people to enjoy whatever it is that they are giving up for the next 40 days.