The Paw Print
Mardi GrasMonday, February 27, 2012 By Gail
Mardi Gras, or Fat Tuesday, is known by everyone as the day marked by parades, beads, and purple and green down in New Orleans. It is always the Tuesday before Ash Wednesday, which marks the beginning of Lent and is a celebration in which people pig out and party hard before they have to give it all up for the Lent season. The general idea of Mardi Gras dates all the way back to the Roman Empire and a celebration called Lupercalia, a circus like festival encompassing Christian ideals with pagan rituals that marked a period of merriment and abandon before the reparation of Lent. The tradition carried over into French culture in the Middle Ages, and the French brought it with them when they came over to America in 1699. Once over in New Orleans, masquerade balls and festivals became the prevalent way to celebrate Mardi Gras. Mardi Gras is to this day celebrated with masquerade parties and festivals. Plastic beads and doubloons in purple, green, and gold- the traditional Mardi Gras colors- are given out to people at the parties. King cake, which is a circular iced cake with a plastic baby Jesus, is a must have to please the guests, and whoever gets the slice with the baby is supposed to have good luck in the coming year. This shows the traditional Christian aspects that originally went into the holiday.