Mardi Gras, which is French for “Fat Tuesday”, is actually an ancient celebration that first started in medieval Europe. On March 2nd, 1699, French explorer Jean Baptiste Le Moyne Sieur de Bienville landed about 60 miles away what is now New Orleans. He named this place “Pointe du Mardi Gras” on the eve of Fat Tuesday. In 1703, Fort Louis de la Mobile celebrated the first American Mardi Gras.
Fat Tuesday is the last day of the “Carnival” season — a mainly southern European and Latin American celebration filled with feasting, drinking, and dancing. Celebrants literally fatten up on the Tuesday before Lent. Mardi Gras is all about releasing your sins before attending Ash Wednesday services and Fat Tuesday is the last day.
Ash Wednesday opens Lent, a season of fasting, and prayer. In addition to fasting, many Christians also give up something special that they enjoy. Fat Tuesday is a celebration to enjoy that favorite food or snack that you give up for the long Lenten season.
SO - Fat Tuesday is called Fat Tuesday is because it's all about excess. Eat all of your favorite foods, celebrate with friends, and play music extra loud. ENJOY THE DAY!
Even if you don’t follow the Lenten season, there’s no reason you can’t get together with your friends and enjoy a Fat Tuesday celebration.
Family and friends gather to party at home or kick off neighborhood celebrations with colorful decorations, Mardi Gras beads, and lots of traditional food specialties jambalaya, cajun shrimp, Mardi Gras King's Cake, and authentic New Orleans Pralines.
OR download all the recipes in one location HERE
So what is this all about?
Ash Wednesday marks the beginning of Lent and is always 46 days before Easter Sunday. Lent is the season marked by prayer and fasting. The 40-day period represents Christ’s time of temptation in the desert, where he fasted and where Satan tempted him.
Ash Wednesday starts Lent by focusing the Christian’s heart on repentance and prayer, usually through confession. This happens during a special Ash Wednesday service.
In many congregations, the ashes are prepared by burning palm branches from the previous Palm Sunday. On Palm Sunday, churches bless and hand out palm branches to attendees, a reference to the Gospels’ account of Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem, when onlookers lay palm branches on his path.
The ashes of this holiday symbolize two main things: death and repentance.
Ash Wednesday - The beginning of Lent, a day of reflection and repentance from sin
Palm Sunday - Celebrates Jesus's triumphant entry into Jerusalem
Holy Week - The week leading up to Easter
Holy Thursday - Commemorates the foot washing and Last Supper of Jesus Christ with the Apostles
Good Friday - Commemorates the crucifixion of Jesus and his death at Calvary
Easter - Celebrates the resurrection of Jesus from the dead and his victory over sin and death.
The history of Lent are unclear. According to Britannica.com, Lent has likely been observed: “since apostolic times, though the practice was not formalized until the First Council of Nicaea in 325 CE.”
The exact rules and practices of Lent have changed over the years. “In the early centuries fasting rules were strict, as they still are in Eastern churches...One meal a day was allowed in the evening, and meat, fish, eggs, and butter were forbidden. The Eastern Church also restricts the use of wine, oil, and dairy products. In the West, these fasting rules have gradually been relaxed. The strict law of fasting among Roman Catholics was dispensed with during World War II, and only Ash Wednesday and Good Friday are now kept as Lenten fast days.”
The actual purpose behind fasting and abstinence is to help Catholics connect with the suffering of Jesus. Abstinence from meat is observed on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday, but is also practiced on Fridays throughout Lent in the United States.
Many Catholics choose to sacrifice something during the season of Lent:
Decide if you want to "give up" something. Lent is based on sacrifice, many people choose to stop eating a favorite food or pursuing a favorite activity. However, you can also choose to do something instead.
If you do decide to give up something, determine what is important to you. Do not give up something you do not like; this is not a sacrifice at all. Don't give up something you don't have, either.
Pick a favorite. Remember it is SACRAFICE.
Stick with it. it is 6 weeks – you can go back to it after Easter if you need to.
Rest remember it is only six weeks and you can do anything for six weeks!
AND get your FAT TUESDAY RECIPES HERE