Happy Mardi Gras everyone! Is everyone wearing their purple, green, and gold and celebrating today? What exactly are you celebrating though?!
In short, we celebrate Mardi Gras because tomorrow, Ash Wednesday, begins Lent. Mardi Gras means “Fat Tuesday” in French and came about from the ancient custom of parading a fat ox through Paris the day before Ash Wednesday. The ox was a reminder that eating meat is not allowed during Lent, which runs from Ash Wednesday through Easter Sunday. People must have loved their meat because they reveled in a big way!
Major merriments are today still held as those Frenchmen brought the custom to the U.S. with them. Mardi Gras parades are taking place today throughout the world, but in the U.S. the modern incarnation of the holiday is said to have started in Mobile, Alabama in 1830. Today New Orleans is most traditionally known as the Mardi Gras capital of the world with its parades, parties, and other popular customs that often include the throwing of beads, the drinking of cocktails, and the eating of King Cakes.
Mardi Gras is always 47 days before Easter, but why the purple, green and gold? Purple is said to stand for justice, green represents faith, and gold stands for power. I’ve been to New Orleans many times but never during Mardi Gras and I don’t think I ever want. A wild and crazy city the other 364 days of the year, I can’t even imagine the madcap rowdiness of it all. I do love the beads though and I love a good parade. Party on my friends and save some cake for me!