Mardi Gras is a French phrase which means “Fat Tuesday.” This event has been celebrated in different cities all over the world but it all started in Nice in the year 1294. The Comte de Provence initiated the visits to Nice for the colorful and funny carnivals. At this time, the celebration already included the masquerade balls and jugglers. The reputation of the festival had gained popularity all over France. Mardi Gras is often associated with participants wearing artistic and colorful mask and extravagant and magnificent costumes.
History of Mardi Gras
For thousand of years, Mardi Gras has been part of human festivities. According to some historians, the ancient rituals of different tribes were the foundation of this event. This ritual is also a welcoming for the coming of spring and surviving the cold winter.
Druids of France kill bulls as sacrificial offerings for the celebration of Fete Du Soleil (Festival of the Sun). Druids were a group of priests that exist on ancient Britain and Gaul. It is said that the sacrifices were offered to the gods so that the people would be blessed by more healthy livestock and fertile women. The farmers also threw away flour over their fields as a sign for more crops. Druids are also Irish and Welsh legends where they are known as prophets and sorcerers.
Another ancient festival that could be part of Mardi Gras was done in Lupercalia which was a Roman festival that took place every year in the middle of February. It was like a circus. Based on history, the Roman festival was initially a festival for shepherds who they said founded Rome. The tradition later evolved by having the festival to honor the Roman god of Fertility, Lupercus.
There are several acceptable explanations why Mardi Gras is also called Fat Tuesday. Some of the reasons are related to the birth of Roman Catholic in France.
Pagan festivals were not encouraged by the Catholic Church. That’s why they made plans to stop the celebration of such pagan activities. However, changing the people’s way of living was not that simple. They could not force the people to stop celebrating in a Carnival. The Catholic Church, then, declared the time for Carnival was a time to be merry and happy before the coming Lent season which requires seriousness and focus.
Lent season officially starts on Ash Wednesday. The festival had to take place before it so that people may indulge themselves in fun and food before the fasting which was required during Lent season.
Another tale on why it was called Mardi Gras or Fat Tuesday was that people used up all the fats before the celebration of Ash Wednesday.
The history of Mardi Gras and why it is also called Fat Tuesday are not yet fully answered. Still its popularity has reached even the America. The event also breaks the most number of tourists who visit France just to celebrate. Fat Tuesday also makes France’s economy fatter.
Source by Kenny Leones