Roots of Mardi Gras
Mardi Gras, also known as “Fat Tuesday,” is a centuries-old celebration with roots in Christian tradition, particularly in the Roman Catholic Church. The holiday is typically celebrated on the day before the Christian season of Lent begins, which is a period of fasting and sacrifice in preparation for Easter.
The origins of Mardi Gras can be traced back to medieval Europe, where a similar holiday was celebrated with feasting and merry-making. When French explorers and settlers came to what is now the United States, they brought the Mardi Gras traditions with them, which took root in the Southern states, particularly in New Orleans.
Today, Mardi Gras is a major cultural event in New Orleans, where elaborate parades and parties are held in the weeks leading up to Fat Tuesday. The celebrations often feature costumes, masks, beads, and other festive decorations, and are a time for people to let loose and have fun before the solemnity of Lent begins.
Carnival in Barcelona
A time of joy, exuberance and joie de vivre, before Ash Wednesday when the 46-day Lent to Easter begins. Carnival, in Catalonia “Carnaval” is celebrated as in Central Europe. Disguises and costumes abound and are enjoined with events and parades, and finally the restaurants and bars are busy.
Beginning with “Dirty Thursday” on February 16th celebrations continue til “Ash Wednesday” on February 22nd. Barcelonans call the 1st day Jueves Ladero – Greasy Thursday, or Dijous Gras in Catalan.
Over the weekend there are more parades like the Gran Rua, which does not exist anymore. This year plan on “La Taronjada” on Sunday in the Ribera/Born district.
As a fitting prelude to lent, the celebrations end on Ash Wednesday with the funeral of the sardine. This is a fitting prelude to Lent because on this day fish is eaten. For Catholics that give up meat for Lent, this may be the beginning of their stint.
Fat Tuesday, which is known as “Mardi Gras” in French, is celebrated in Paris as well as in many other regions of France. The French have their own long-standing traditions and customs for Mardi Gras, which typically involve parades, costumes, and feasting.
In Paris, the most famous Mardi Gras celebration is the Carnaval de Paris, which dates back to the 16th century. The Carnaval de Paris features elaborate parades with floats and costumed performers, as well as dancing, music, and other festivities. The celebration culminates on Fat Tuesday with a grand parade through the streets of the city, which draws thousands of spectators.
In addition to the Carnaval de Paris, there are many other Mardi Gras events and celebrations held throughout the city, including parties, masquerade balls, and other festive gatherings. These celebrations are a time for people to come together and enjoy the fun and frivolity of the holiday before the more somber season of Lent begins.
Shrove Tuesday is the last day of the season of Epiphany, which is a time of reflection and preparation for the Lenten season. On Shrove Tuesday, Christians are encouraged to confess their sins, receive absolution, and prepare for the fasting and repentance of Lent.
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