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Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Hail Rex - King of Carnival

Happy Mardi Gras!

Obviously this year's Mardi Gras is special. Every Mardi Gras is. But not for the reasons the MSM continues to pound on or the stuff that makes the Girls Gone Wild videos.

The MSM from what I have seen has missed the point again. Mardi Gras is not about getting drunk on Bourbon Street and lifting your shirt for plastic beads. This year's Mardi Gras is not about the have and the have nots. Yes, there are many have nots in New Orleans and the entire Gulf South who were affected by Hurricane Katrina. But, life goes on. And there is no better way to celebrate that sentiment with the meaning of the entire Carnival season and the culmination of Fat Tuesday.

In French, Mardi Gras means "Fat Tuesday" and is celebrated the day before Ash Wednesday as a last "fling" prior to the 40 days of Lent which precede Easter. Although Lent is never mentioned in the Bible, it has been a tradition in the Christian world since the mid 4th century. It seems to parallel the 40 days of fasting in the wilderness that Jesus experienced following his baptism. Historically, Lenten fasting became mandatory, especially abstinence from eating meat. While recommended by St. Athanasius, bishop of Alexandria in 330 AD, by the Middle Ages Lent was enforced trustworthiness, especially the forbidding of meat during the final weeks before Easter. The word "carnival" comes from an old Italian word that means to "go without meat" or "removal of meat." In England, the Brits call this "Shrove Tuesday" and is celebrated by eating of rich food, that won't be used during Lent. As the Protestant Reformation spread throughout Europe, Lent became regarded more as a Roman Catholic institution, and was increasingly ignored by Protestants as a traditional observance. This tendency did not reverse, especially in the US, until the 1980s. Today, more Protestant churches participate in Lent with devotions and Scripture readings, as well as special Ash Wednesday services.

Mardi Gras in New Orleans is the single most multi-cultural event in the US. Everyone in New Orleans celebrates it -Christians and non-Christians, Creoles, African Americans, Hispanic, French, Italians, Polish, and every other ethnicity that makes up New Orleans.

So Lezze Les Bon Temps Roule - All Hail Rex - King of Mardi Gras

Great history lesson!
Jus wish the Mardi Gras would conform more to the religious significance eh?..but yes yes..party hardy!
I didn't know that about the word carnival. Very interesting. When I was young it was always called "Shrove Tuesday", but I grew up in a section of Boston the was 97-98% Irish Catholic.
Hey BM...you're a Southie? Nice...expalins the lent post on your site.

Still have not decided what to ditch for lent!
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