Today is Tuesday, why is it fat? Let the good times roll! Today is Fat Tuesday, or Mardi Gras, French for ”fat Tuesday,” the Tuesday before Ash Wednesday marking the forty day period called Lent before Easter Sunday and the resurrection of Christ. It is the last day of the carnival season which is marked by exciting parties, celebrations and down right debaucheries. It is the last binge if you will before giving up such things as sugar and celebrations for the Lent period. While it is not a pagan holiday, per se, it does have roots from a similar tree. It became a legal holiday in Louisiana in 1875 with beginnings in ancient Rome. Unable to be rid of pagan traditions, like the unruly Roman festivals of Saturnalia and Lupercalia, religious heads decided to incorporate them into the new faith. The creation of the carnival season kicking off at advent or epiphany around the Christmas time until Lent, it is hard to miss the connections. In more modern times, with the popularity of it being so focused in New Orleans, it is also difficult to deny ties with other religions blended with Christianity including Voodoo and Santeria so prevalent in the Southern regions.
With deep roots in Catholicism from medieval Europe, including French, Spanish and Italian influences, the colors of Mardi Gras were eventually chosen to represent the following: purple as a symbol of justice, green of faith and gold to signify power. We see this exhibited in such delicacies as king cakes with Christ babies hidden inside and decorated in colored sugar, masks, beads, and other well known traditional symbols representing the event. So enjoy the season, have a doughnut, get some beads, and celebrate whether you chose to participate in forty days of penance during Lent or not, who doesn’t love a good party?!
2016 copyright by Katie Pifer, available at http://www.witchpetals.wordpress.com