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2010-eilis-birthday-party-i

Mardi Gras Party 2010 x2

We are celebrating 2 Mardi Gras parties this year. Like a Hurricane, you just can’t stop at one. We are having a Mardi Gras themed birthday party for Eilis. And Anna is hosting a Zatarain’s party for friends and family. Be sure to check for more details, updates and pictures!

And for those who want to know, just what exactly is Mardi Gras? Is it a drunken party festivale? No, its actually a Catholic religous event – SUPRISE!

Mardi Gras, known more famously for the big day – “Fat Tuesday,” is the pre-Lenten festival celebrated in Roman Catholic countries and communities. In a strict sense, Mardi Gras, or Shrove Tuesday, is celebrated by the French as the last of the three days of Shrovetide. Yep, its a religous event. It is a time of preparation immediately before Ash Wednesday and the start of the fast of Lent. Why do we celebrate? Because Mardi Gras is the last opportunity for merrymaking and indulgences in food and drink. Mardi Gras is marked by spectacular parades featuring floats, pageants, elaborate costumes, masked balls, and people dancing in the streets.

Was this invented in New Orleans? Oh no no. In fact, Mardi Gras originated as one of the series of carnival days held in all Roman Catholic countries between Twelfth Night, or Epiphany, and Ash Wednesday. Much older then your Mom’s first free set of beads, these carnivals had their origin in pre-Christian spring fertility rites. The most famous modern Mardi Gras festivities are those held in New Orleans, La.; Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; Nice, France; and Cologne, Germany. Ahh so the beads do have a purpose in our religion.

The first American Mardi Gras was celebrated near modern-day New Orleans on March 3, 1699. It wasn’t until the mid-1800s did official parade organizations start to form with the Mystick Krewe of Comus in 1856 and the Krewe of Rex in 1872. The tradition is still carried on in New Orleans with many other krewes represented on floats in a myriad of parades. The official colors of Mardi Gras are purple, green and gold (representing justice, faith and power).

Mardi Gras celebrations can start as early as January 6, on the feast of Epiphany. The festivities end at midnight on Tuesday–the day before Ash Wednesday and the beginning of Lent. Mardi Gras day falls on any Tuesday between February 3 and March 9. Like Ash Wednesday, the date Mardi Gras falls on depends on the date of Easter, which you remember from Sister Mary Katherina always occurres 46 days before Easter.