Mardi Gras Carnival Art / February 22, 2019 / Eve Callahan
It is the twelfth day of Christmas the Epiphany and celebrates the day that the three wise men found and worshipped the baby Jesus. In communities where Carnival is observed Epiphany marks the beginning of the season and the last day is always the Tuesday before Ash Wednesday Mardi Gras day. The word Carnival is taken from the Latin and is literally translated as "farewell to the flesh". The Carnival season is time of merriment and brief season of feasting before the somber time of Lent. Some experiments have reasoned that the custom actually began as a way to use any meat eggs and milk before Lent began so that no items were left to waste during the forty day long fasting period.
Around 30 000 visitors flock to Venice each day for the world famous carnival so be sure to book a room in one of the hotels prior to your trip. Be sure to pick up a traditional mask in Venice before you hit the Mardi Gras events. They can be found from a huge selection of street vendors and shops splattered along the side alleys. The carnival always runs with a different theme each year and activities include a silent regatta of row boats along the Canal Grande illuminated only with candles symbolic and suggestive symbol of rejoining with the city; concerts theatre pieces historical re-enactments grand balls and film shows.
The celebration of the last day before Lent dates back to at least the Middle Ages when men of noble lineage or accomplishment were knighted and formal banquets took place to honor the occasion. Mardi Gras which means Fat Tuesday in French as an alternate name for Shrove Tuesday was established in New Orleans while the city was under French control and was maintained as a major festival even when the territory was relinquished into Spanish hands as well as after the Louisiana Purchase was signed and the state of Louisiana officially joined the Union.