Mardi Gras 2018 History, Date: Also called as Shrove Tuesday and Fat Tuesday, Mardi Gras is the festive event falling every year at the beginning of the Christian feast Epiphany or at the end of it. It comes to an end prior to the day of Ash Wednesday.
Mardi Gras is a French word, meaning ‘Fat Tuesday’ on which people observe eating large size meals on the night before the Ash Wednesday, as fasting has to be done on that day as a part of the Lenten ritual. The festival in countries such as England is known popularly as Shrove Tuesday.
Mardi Gras History 2018
Some historians say that Mardi Gras has been a festive event for the Catholics since more than 1000 years. The festivities began at the times when the pagan celebrations of spring and fertility along with the Roman festivals like Saturnalia and Lupercalia.
In Rome, when Christianity took a start, some of the leaders of those times came together with a decision of combining these traditions instead of getting rid of it. This resulted in a large get-together wherein debauchery took place, leading Mardi Gras to serve as an opening to the Lenten season which is observed for 40 long days.
In accompaniment with the Christian regions, Mardi Gras also started spreading in the countries like Rome, France Germany, England And Spain. Before the Lenten season could start, the Mardi Gras traditions included excessive consumption of meat, eggs, milk and cheese.
In France, Mardi Gras was being recognized as the day prior to the Ash Wednesday. Also called as ‘carnival’, the word was derived from the vegetarian-unfriendly custom for the pre-Lenten festivities
Mardi Gras observances in different countries:
The Mardi Gras celebratory events may differ from region to region, as to for how long the events might go on and the feasting methodologies might also vary. In some of the American cities, the festive day is currently known as ‘Mardi Gras Day’. The observances with respect to the different Catholic countries are as follows:
According to some historians, the Mardi Gras in United States was first held on 3rd March, 1699. This all took place when two French explorers named Iberville and Bienville came to Louisiana situated in New Orleans. These two men conducted a small celebration, which was then followed as a tradition by the other French settlements after a few decades.
The day was then marked as a holiday that consisted of street parties, masked balls along with large amount of lavish meals. This tradition was aborted by the Spanish when they took control over New Orleans and was banned until 1812, when Louisiana was declared as the US state.
In 1827, when Mardi Gras was celebrated, many students dressed-up in colorful costumes and performed dance along the streets of New Orleans. In the year 1837, the first Mardi Gras parade was held, which later on became an important integral part of the Mardi Gras celebratory events.
In 1857, a torch-lit Mardi Gras procession was organised by a secret society of New Orleans businessmen named as the Mistick Krewe of Comus. The procession included marching bands and rolling floats and the trend was followed by the future public of the city.
In Brazil, Mardi Gras is popularly known as the Brazilian Carnival, in which 705 of the tourists from most of the parts of the world actively take part. The celebratory events vary throughout the Brazilian regions, the incorporation of samba into the celebrations being the most trending events.
The south-eastern cities of the country hold large parades taking place in huge samba dromes. In Rio, around 2 million people take part in the celebrations held, whereas in Salvador as well the picture is the same in which big street parties are organised.
The Mardi Gras celebration in Germany has got many names such as Schmutziger Donnerstag or Fetter Donnerstag (Fat Thursday), Unsinniger Donnerstag, Weiberfastnacht, Greesentag, etc. even if the festivity is given different names, these all are one single part of the carnival events taking place all over the different German regions.
Here, the celebrations start before one or two weeks of the Ash Wednesday begins. Ash Wednesday here is called Karneval, Fasching, or Fastnacht. In German, ‘schmutzig’ means ‘dirty’, but in Alemannic dialects ‘schmotzig’ means ‘lard’ of ‘fat’, which associates to the ‘Fat Tuesday ‘.
Mardi Gras in Italy is known as Martedi Grasso i.e. Fat Tuesday. The main celebratory events take place in the cities Venice, Viareggio and Ivrea. The Italian version of this festival is known as Carnevale.
The festivities of Mardi Gras are same as that of the ones that take place in Venice and is popular here as Carnaval. The word comes from the Latin word carnem levare, meaning ‘to take away meat’ or ‘farewell to meat’. As in the other Catholic countries, the festivity marks the beginning of the Lenten season.
The southern part of the Netherlands like Noord-Brabant and Limburg, some part of Zeeland and the eastern parts, Noord-Brabant and Limburg hold the main celebratory events of Mardi Gras.
Mardi Gras Around the World:
Across the globe, the pre-Lenten festivals continue to take place in many countries with significant Roman Catholic populations. Brazil’s weeklong Carnival festivities feature a vibrant amalgam of European, African and native traditions.
In Canada, Quebec City hosts the giant Quebec Winter Carnival. In Italy, tourists flock to Venice’s Carnevale, which dates back to the 13th century and is famous for its masquerade balls.
Known as Karneval, Fastnacht or Fasching, the German celebration includes parades, costume balls and a tradition that empowers women to cut off men’s ties. For Denmark’s Fastevlan, children dress up and gather candy in a similar manner to Halloween–although the parallel ends when they ritually flog their parents on Easter Sunday morning. Mardi Gras 2018 History