Monday, March 7, 2011
Mardi Gras, Carnival, Fat Tuesday, Shrove Tuesday... What does it all mean and a few things to do
So with Mardi Gras (literally Fat Tuesday in French or Shrove Tuesday in English tradition) only a day away and the Mardi Gras season hours from starting, I decided it would be a great idea to write a little bit about the season and the events, where it all comes from and what the meaning of the whole thing is.
In a word, Mardi Gras or Carnival can both be summed up as... Oh I don't know, mind-blowing for those that like to really party hard? In all seriousness though, Mardi Gras and Carnival are really the last chance at decadence, debauchery, and disorderly conduct prior to the observance of fasting for lent in the catholic faith, that runs from on or after Epiphany and ends on the day before Ash Wednesday in most places.
So what does this all mean? Well, in a nut shell, it means that Mardi Gras is the last chance for people to cut loose partying and to eat and drink like gluttons before lent.
If you happen to be from Louisiana, then the previous image is nothing new to you, however, for those reading this from the rest of the world, you are looking at a crawfish boil, which I can honestly say is a probably one of the best examples of cajun cuisine and a pretty good example of something that you would see devoured by lots of hungry Mardi Gras goers as well! Crawfish are incredibly delicious and are great with a few cold ones and your entire family to share and enjoy! Seriously, don't knock em till you have tried them... Putting aside the food for a moment, Louisiana is often the first place that comes to mind for most Americans at least when someone mentions Mardi Gras, however, Mardi Gras is celebrated in places all over the world quite differently.
This picture was taken at Carnival in Brazil! In Brazil, Mardi Gras is referred to as Carnival and the entire country parties like they mean it! A quick search of the web will turn up many racy and wild photos from the South American Mardi Gras, some of which I was on the fence about posting here because they were beautiful images, but the were NSFW. That having been said, use your imagination and think about what an entire country of people celebrating before a fasting period would be like... Now add alcohol, great food, and some of the hottest scantily clad women in the world and you are only scratching the surface of what Carnival is even like in Brazil. There are many other places across the planet where they celebrate Mardi Gras, such as Canada, Germany, Belgium and more, even Senegal!
In closing, consider this before you go down to Bourbon Street in the French Quarter to raise hell, throwing beads at women who show their breasts and drinking hurricanes, while dancing to "When the Saints Coming Marching In" for the 3000 time in a day; this celebration is in preparation for the remembrance of the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ: MAKE IT COUNT!, especially if you are Christian or Catholic.
If you need some other things to do while you are celebrating in Louisiana, here are some great options to check out:
Bogue Chitto Tubing:
Haunted History Tours: