What Does Mardi Gras Mean in English?

Mardi Gras, translated as ‘Fat Tuesday’ in English, is much more than a prelude to Lent. The festival has evolved into grand celebrations filled with parades, parties and globally recognised events.

Origins of Mardi Gras

Derived from French, ‘Mardi Gras’ means ‘Fat Tuesday’ in English. This term is coined because it originally pertained to an ancient ritual of eating livestock fat and other foods before starting the fast period of Lent in the Christian calendar. Lent is always 40 days and includes grandeur food-free celebrations leading up to Easter Sunday.

Evolution of Mardi Gras

Historically, Mardi Gras was a solemn feast that every Christian practiced to prepare themselves for the period of fasting during Lent. However, its essence has taken a dramatic turn over the years. Currently, the concept of Mardi Gras has evolved into a large-scale celebration filled with parades, parties, and grand festivities, making it popular across various parts of the globe.

Mardi Gras Tradition in New Orleans

One of the most famous Mardi Gras celebrations takes place in the festive city of New Orleans, USA. This party city amplifies Fat Tuesday celebrations with overflowing crowds, parades with extravagant floats, energetic music, and people dressed in flamboyant costumes. It is considered a season of celebration and parties, starting on the 6th of January, King’s Day, and culminates on Fat Tuesday, falling 46 days before Easter.

  • New Orleans Mardi Gras is infamous for its act of throwing beads. These necklaces of multi-coloured beads represent the traditional colours of Mardi Gras – purple signifies justice, green symbolizes faith, and gold denotes power.
  • The tradition of King Cake is another essential part of the New Orleans Mardi Gras. The cake is essentially a festive pastry dusted with colourful sugar and sometimes filled with cream cheese or fruit fillings. A small baby figurine is tucked inside the cake symbolizing luck and prosperity for whoever discovers it.

The Global Impact of Mardi Gras

Mardi Gras has mushroomed into a global festival. From Belgium to Brazil, and Germany to Australia, the celebration is adopted in many countries. However, these global celebrations maintain their unique ethnical nuances while sharing the general essence of Mardi Gras, making it a festival with significant worldwide impact.

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