Mardi Gras: A Celebration to Experience

The Spectacular Festival of Fat Tuesday is celebrated withouth being truly understood. Take a look a this article to know what is Mardi Gras, the worldwide celebrations and the traditions. It is fun for everyone!

According to Georges Arsenault’s book, Mi-Carême en Acadie (2008), Lenting is still demanding to follow today, however; it has become less strict.  The Lent period is also to slow down our everyday activities at work and at home. That way, we can give God our time and show him our appreciation for what he does for us.

Many Christians in America, South America, North America and Europe celebrate Fat Tuesday, but it is most popular in Louisiana. This celebration helps the economy of Louisiana because of its numerous tourists attracted each year to participate in parades and assist the grandiosity of the show. Ribeiro (2000) says that “In New Orleans, the first organized parades through the streets took place in 1837 and by the middle of the century, carnival entertainments had become  big business as groups of wealthy men” (p.4). Now, we often hear about Fat Tuesday in Las Vegas, mostly because it is already an extravagant city where people go to have fun and see light shows, costumes and much more. It seems it is not so much about practicing the tradition anymore than it is to enjoy the festival, just like people are becoming less religious. Even if the tradition was interrupted a few years because of war, it is still practiced and popular today. Of course, the original traditions like burning a mannequin have been lost in most Christian parts of the world.

The worldwide tradition includes music, the colors purple and green, masks, costumed parades, tasting traditional recipes like cakes and pies, the King Cake Eating Contest and gaining necklaces thrown by onlookers in order for women to flash the crowd. The King Cake Eating Contest consists of finding a baby doll in one of the cakes. Fat Tuesday is also a day on which people love to play tricks on each other and dress up so no one can recognize them[4].

Some music that well describes Fat Tuesday is from Zachary Richard, a singer and songwriter famous amongst worldwide Acadians. Zachary Richard is a Cajun from Louisiana who combines Cajun and Classic R&B. The term Cajun is used for Acadians mostly in New Orleans. One of his popular albums is entitled Mardi Gras Mambo, featuring historic passages and cultural aspects of the Mardi Gras Carnival.

The numerous streets of the cities during this known festival are usually always blocked and well decorated so people can parade and walk everywhere while partying. Many families also sit along the streets to watch the day and night parades and to have picnics. Of course, they eat as much as they can.

Finally, Fat Tuesday is a worldwide festival that assembles communities and attracts people from other countries to travel to Louisiana and other large cities. Many people practice the traditions of this festival even if they do not necessarily believe in the Catholic religious history behind it and do not practice fasting. Only few participants follow the Catholic rules of Mardi Gras, Ash Wednesday, Lent, Holy Saturday and Easter, even though these periods are historically worth more than just partying for fun.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Works Cited

 

Encyclopedia Britannica, Ultimate ed., 2008

The American Heritage, New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition, 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.

Ribeiro, The Old and New Worlds of Mardi Gras, Bell & Howell Information and Learning Company, 2000, p.2.

Ibid, p.4.

[1] Ph. F. Bourgeois, Vie de l’abbé François-Xavier Lafrance ( Montreal : Librairie Beauchemin, 1913), p.95.

[2] The Catholic Encyclopaedia, 9 ed., “Lent” by  Robert Appleton, 1910.

[3] Pierre Dunnigan and Francine Saint-Laurent, Mi-carême, Une fête québécoise à redécouvrir (Montreal : Les 400 coups, 2006), p. 19.

[4] Pierre Dunnigan and Francine Saint-Laurent, Mi-carême, Une fête québécoise à redécouvrir (Montreal : Les 400 coups, 2006), p. 19.

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