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Make Way for Mardi Gras!

Published in Places & Spaces - February 12, 2013

Mardi Gras, French meaning "Fat Tuesday" is the time of year some know as Shrove Tuesday or Pancake Day, the day before Ash Wednesday and 40 days of Lent. The festival is referred to as Mardi Gras which involves the consumption of rich and fatty...

Mardi Gras, French meaning "Fat Tuesday" is the time of year some know as Shrove Tuesday or Pancake Day, the day before Ash Wednesday and 40 days of Lent. The festival is referred to as Mardi Gras which involves the consumption of rich and fatty foods to celebrate the start of the fasting season.

Many areas around the world celebrate in different ways; festivities could last for days and involve amazing street parades in many elaborate costumes and masks. Mardi Gras is essentially a time for the community to come together with dancing, sporting competitions, music, marching groups and large floats.

In Portuguese, Spanish and Italian speaking countries, the celebration is referred to as Carnival. The most famous carnival practices; street parades and Masquerade Balls, was first seen in Medieval Italy. It soon began spreading towards the Catholic regions of Spain, Portugal & France and then towards America.

Big celebrators of the festival include New Orleans, where the delicious cinnamon, coffee-cake like pastry is consumed. Historians say that the first American Mardi Gras took place on March 3 1699 when French explorers landed in Louisiana. Germany, Mexico, Colombia and Quebec City, Canada are also famous for showing their Mardi Gras spirit. The Carnival of Brazil is the most famous holiday and most of the country would stop for a week to celebrate day and night.

So wherever in the world you find yourself during the days before Lent, there would always be something that would reach you. Whether it be making pancakes, or a whole week of brightly designed costumes and exciting musical bands, all mixing up centuries of evolved culture and traditions, so how will you be celebrating Mardi Gras this month?

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