Fat Tuesday, which falls on Feb. 13 this year, marks the end of the Mardi Gras festival in New Orleans.
It is the culmination of the week-long festival — the last day for Christians to enjoy all their favorite foods before the start of Lent, which is a 40-day long fast when Christians give up some of the things they most enjoy.
Here are some interesting facts about Fat Tuesday and Mardi Gras:
1. Abstinence from Dairy: According to the Latin roots of Fat Tuesday, the culmination of the carnival means “removal of flesh/meat.” Traditionally, Christians would refrain from consuming any meat or dairy products during the period of Lent that follows this festival, according to Catholic.
2. Mardi Gras is Fat Tuesday in French: The celebration was first recognized by Pope Gregory XIII in 1582 and originally began as a French Christian festival.
3. Fat Tuesday is also known as “Shrove Tuesday”: In some countries, the culminating day of the weeks-long festival is also observed as “Shrove Tuesday” after shrive, which means “to confess.” Christians often use this day to go to the church to confess their sins before the “Ash Wednesday” so that they can start their spiritual journey of Lent free of guilt.
4. Most famous places where Mardi Gras is celebrated: Although the carnivals at New Orleans, Louisiana, and Rio de Janerio, Brazil, draw the largest number of tourists from across the globe, the festival is immensely popular in Germany (as “Karneval”), Italy (as “Martedi Grasso”), Trinidad (as “J’Ouvert”), and Mexico (as “Martes de Carnaval”).
5. Masks and beads worn on Mardi Gras: The king of the first daytime Carnival in 1872 was the first to wear multicolored beads during the parade — a look that became an instant trendsetter. Parade-goers started draping themselves with beads colored purple for justice, gold for power and green for faith.
Masks, on the other hand, had a deeper purpose than just making fashion statements. Participants wore masks during celebrations to fight class distinctions.
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SOURCE: International Business Times, Pritha Paul