It’s Fat Tuesday, the day before Ash Wednesday and the beginning of Lent.
In addition to its literal French translation, “Fat Tuesday,” Mardi Gras is also referred to as Shrove Tuesday, Pancake Day, and Pączki Day. What’s Pączki Day? It involves the indulgence of consuming donuts made of deep-fried dough with sweet fillings and topped with powdered sugar. It’s a Polish tradition but is practiced largely in Detroit and Chicago in North America.
From the National Day Calendar:
Credit for bringing Mardi Gras to America goes to French explorers Pierre Le Moyne Sieur d’Iberville and Jean Baptiste Le Moyne Sieur de Bienville. In 1699, d’Iberville reached the mouth of the river on Shrove Tuesday near what is now Louisiana and named it Pointe du Mardi Gras.
Thanks to their establishment of Fort Louis de la Mobile, modern-day Mobile, Alabama lays claim to the first Mardi Gras celebration on American soil in 1703.
When de Bienville established Nouvelle Orleans in 1788, Mardi Gras celebrations reportedly began immediately. In 1875, Louisiana declared Fat Tuesday an official holiday.
Are you celebrating “Mardis Gras” this year? Any parties planned for tonight?
From People.com, here’s a little Mardi Gras information to get your Fat Tuesday started:
Mardi Gras, meaning “Fat Tuesday” in French, reflects the practice of gorging on rich and fatty foods ahead of Lent, the 40 day-long fasting period that follows in the days leading up to Easter, in which fish is often only consumed.
Since Carnival dates back to the ancient days of pagan spring and fertility rites, much of its origin derives from Medieval Latin. In fact, “carnelevarium means to take away or remove meat, from the Latin carnem for meat,” according to History.com.
While you prepare to binge on sweet treats and feast your eyes on parades, parties, and galas galore, here’s some food for thought on the holiday’s history and how you can celebrate Mardi Gras at home!
Although New Orleans, Louisiana is highly credited for throwing the first Mardi Gras celebration, there’s been an ongoing debate about whether Mobile, Alabama was the original origin.
The argument for Mobile being the first American location to celebrate the holiday stands on the fact that the city was founded in 1703 before New Orleans, which was founded in 1718.
It’s said that French settlers threw a party with Mardi Gras-type celebrations on “Fat Tuesday” in 1703, “But what will never be known is the actual form early Carnival celebrations took,” Cart Blackwell, curator at the Mobile Carnival Museum, told The Washington Post.
The historian continued that the festivities concocted in Mobile were adopted in New Orleans, and are now the template for celebrations across the country.
For more, read their entire article here.