Mardi Gras—Fat Tuesday—Carnival—Shrove Tuesday

Mardi Gras is a colourful event/Shutterstock Images

21 February 2023: “Mardi Gras” is French for “Fat Tuesday,” the end of the feasting days of Christmas period. Tomorrow is Ash Wednesday, the beginning of 40 days of fasting and Christian religious observance in the lead-up to Easter. This year Mardi Gras is today, February 21.

Mardi Gras celebrations actually begin on January 6 with the Epiphany, the moment when the three wise men saw that the infant Jesus was the Messiah. Shrove Tuesday comes from the verb “shrive” which means to “free from guilt,” as Anglo-Saxon Christians traditionally went to confession and were absolved from sins on the day before the start of Lent.

Religious and non-religious alike all enjoy pancakes on Shrove Tuesday, before the fasting of luxuries in Lent, and the stirrings of Spring at the time of Mardi Gras in the northern hemisphere where the medieval tradition originated.

In an interesting confluence of cultures, the Christian calendar now lies alongside the LGBTQ+ Mardi Gras calendar, this year the festival is called WorldPride 2023.

Mardi Gras parades, particularly in New Orleans and Sydney, are wild, creative and colourful events. Sydney puts on its spectacular annual event this Saturday, February 25 and New Orleans is today.

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