If you’ve ever dreamed of experiencing Mardi Gras, New Orleans is a good place to start. Mardi Gras is a French term, which literally translates into “Fat Tuesday.” It’s based on a religious event, and falls on the Tuesday before Lent begins in the Christian Calendar. This date is also known as Shrove Tuesday. The Wednesday is known as Ash Wednesday, which is the first day of fasting in the run up to Easter, 46 days later. In order to prepare for all those days of fasting, many people would stock up on a lot of fatty food in the run up to Lent, hence “Fat Tuesday.” Most famous of these Mardi Gras are in New Orleans and the Rio Carnival in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, where hundreds of thousands of people descend on the cities in question to have a good time and take part in the festivities. The US custom of celebrating Mardi Gras started in Mobile, Alabama in 1703 by a Frenchman.
The Carnival celebrations in Brazil are a mix of Portuguese and African traditions. It marked the last time to eat freely before entering the 40 days of Lent. Carne Vale means ‘farewell to meat’ in Latin. Nowadays, the party focuses on the parades of the samba schools at the Sambadrome. They bring about 30,000 participants and there are about 90,000 seats to see the show, which starts at 10 pm and can go until dawn. It is electrifying, but if the energy ebbs you can still slip away.
Even in the Caribbean Island of Côte d’Azur in the town of Menton Mardi Gras or Carnival bursts into yellow with stunning displays, floats and sculptures made of citrus fruit. Noted for the quality of its lemons, Menton first held La Fête du Citron in 1934. Thousands of people turn up each year to see over 100 tons of fruit turned into wonderful displays.
Since 1955, the Quebec Winter Carnival certainly has been the coldest Mardi Gras-carnival celebration. The main draw is the Ice Place and “Bonhomme,” the seven-foot high snowman mascot who wears a large red hat and brings some Quebecois “joie de vivre” with him. Every single year a new ice palace is built. The ice palace is a hotel for anyone to stay in but it is made out of all snow and ice. It takes about a month and a half to build with 50 workers. The Hotel makes its own snow using a different mixture to choose the humidity. It is built with metal frames, it is allowed to harden for a few days, and then the cranes are removed. The hotel is made of 30,000 tons of snow and 500 tons of ice and the walls are up to four feet thick. There are over 44 designed rooms close to a sauna or hot tub.
Mardi Gras Memories
What is the difference between Fat Tuesday and Mardi Gras? Mardi Gras is an all-night
arty in New Orleans, Fat Tuesday is who you wake up with the morning after!
Why does Mardi Gras serve as a reminder of how much inflation alters things?
Beads used to buy you the island of Manhattan, now you only get two coconuts.
How many people live in Rio?
I don’t know either, but I would bet at least a Brazilian.
“So, how was your trip to Rio de Janeiro?”
“Terrible. The entire country is just soccer and hookers.”
“My wife’s from Brazil.”
*Oh, eh… What team does she play for?”
February 22nd Birthdays
1951 – Julie Walters, 1975 – Drew Barrymore, 1971 – Lisa Fernandez, 1992 – Natasha Cloud
1962 – Steve Irwin, 1956 – Hugh Hewitt, 1950 – Julius Irving, 1732 – George Washington