Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Laissez le bon temps rouler- redux

I was surprised by those who wrote asking about Mardi Gras. I presumed everyone knew, but in Protestant Europe it's now mostly celebrated in the abeyance.

Mardi Gras (Fat Tuesday) or Carnival is celebrated the day before Ash Wednesday, the beginning of Lent. A late winter celebration is as old as religion, and has been observed everywhere throughout the western world at one time or another. In ancient Rome it was Saturn's feast, a time of debauchery. Since, it has been alternately a celebration of the coming of Spring, or a religious festival.

The Church of Rome, put paid to Saturn's feast, and gradually turned the bacchanalia to something better able to serve their needs.  In once predominately Catholic countries, France, Spain, Italy, Portugal and their territories, communal parties were held to to empty the larder of forbidden meat, eggs and butter before the severe Lenten fast. Pancake Day celebrations are the last vestige of this old tradition.

The first Mardi Gras celebration in the new world was held in Point Mardi Gras, in what is now Alabama in 1699. Mobile has been celebrating Mardi Gras annually since 1703. As the capital of French America bounced around the gulf coast from Mobile west to New Orleans, the festival followed. Little excuse was necessary to have a party in seaport towns.

Let the good times roll.



Anonymous said...

very interesting, thanks for the history lesson toad.

Anonymous said...

We Anglicans celebrate the day as Shrove Tuesday. Pancakes for all!

Suburban Princess said...

The exchange student was invited to a pancake Tuesday dinner...I had to google to find out exactly what it is. I grew up Orange...we didn't observe this sort of thing.

Thanks for the info! I will be passing it along!

Anonymous said...