Mardi Gras, also known as Shrove Tuesday or Carnival season, is a celebration held on the day before Ash Wednesday. In French, Mardi Gras is known by the name of Fat Tuesday, referring to the practice of the last night of eating fatty foods before the ritual fasting of the Lent season.
History of Mardi Gras
Mardi Gras has a long history and it began with the settlement of Europeans in the New World. In the middle of February, the ancient Romans organized a celebration called Lupercalia, which was a circus like festival but not entirely and it was quite different from the Mardi Gras in the present day. When Rome embraced Christianity, the early church fathers made up their mind that it would be better to incorporate some certain aspects of pagan rituals into the new faith rather than try to abolish them all. After that, Carnival became a period of abandonment and merriment that preceded the penitential season of Lent.
And finally in 1699, Mardi Gras came to the New World, or rather, America with the French explorer Iberville. As early as the Middle Ages, Mardi Gras had been held in Paris where it was a major holiday.
In the 19th century, public celebrations of Mardi Gras centered around maskers on foot, on horseback and in carriages. However, Mardi Gras became a victim of negative reputation due to violent behaviors attributed to maskers during the 1840s and 1850s. The situation gradually went bad that the press began calling for an end to this celebration. In 1871, the custom of presenting a young woman with a golden bean hidden in a cake was first introduced and began. This young woman was considered the first queen of Mardi Gras. Besides, this was also the origin of the king cake tradition.
In the United States, Mardi Gras used to be cancelled during the dark periods of 1918 and 1919 when this country got involved in the First World War. In addition, the celebration of Mardi Gras also sttruggled through the 1920s and the early 1930s, which saw Prohibition and the Great Depression. Though having gone through hard times, Mardi Gras still exists and develops as being itself nowadays.
When is Mardi Gras 2014?
Mardi Gras is the day before Ash Wednesday. Mardi Gras 2014 falls on the 5th of March.
Mardi Gras 2014 observance all around the world
Mardi Gras 2014 is observed by many different countries all over the world. On this occasion, people usually carry out common practices like wearing masks and costumes, dancing and sports competition, overturning social conventions, parades, ec. Some similar expressions to Mardi Gras appear in other European languages sharing the Christian tradition since it is associated with the religious requirement for confession before the season of Lent starts.
In numerous areas, the term “Mardi Gras” is understood as the whole period of activity related to the celebratory events. Plus, in some cities of the United States, this holiday is now called “Fat Tuesday” or “Mardi Gras Day”.
The season of festival varies considerably from city to city since some traditions consider Mardi Gras as the entire period between Epiphany or Twelfth Night and Ash Wednesday. In Alabama, Mardi Gras-associated social events start in November, followed by mystic society balls on Thanksgiving. Some cities well-known for Mardi Gras Day include Barranquilla of Colombia; Mazatlan, Sinaloa of Mexico; Port of Spain of Trinidad and Tobago; Rio de Janeiro of Brazil; Quebec of Canada and New Orleans, Louisiana of the United States.
Besides, Carnival is an important celebration in Anglican and Catholic European countries. For instance, in Ireland and the United Kingdom, the week before Ash Wednesday is called “Shrovetide” and it ends on Shrove Tuesday. Pancakes are traditional food and they, along with fried breads or pastries made with sugar and eggs, are traditionally consumed at this period in various parts of Latin America and the Caribbean.
Mardi Gras 2014 in Germany
In this country, Mardi Gras celebration is called Karneval, Fastnacht or Fasching. These names vary in different regions. Fastnacht has a meaning of “Eve of the Fast” but all these terms cover the whole carnival season combined with amazing and wonderful parades organized in Mainz, Dusseldorf and Cologne on the Monday before Ash Wednesday.
Mardi Gras 2014 in Brazil
Carnival is very famous and is considered one of the most important holidays of Brazilian. During this period of time, Brazil attracts about 70 percent of tourists. Numerous variations in the celebration of Carnival can be observed throughout the multitude of Brazilian cities. In Brazil, the largest Carnival celebration occurs in Rio de Janeiro and tourists of all ages from different countries gather here to enjoy the greatest moments of this event.
Mardi Gras, also known as Mardi Gras Day, Carnival season and Shrove Tuesday, takes place on the day before Ash Wednesday. Mardi Gras 2014 falls on March 5th.