Mardi Gras Carnival Art / February 22, 2019 / Eve Owen
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.
The traditional Mardi Gras King cake is thought to have been derived from this need to use up perishable items. Today Carnival and Mardi Gras are celebrated in many different fashions. Some only celebrate on the actual Tuesday before Ash Wednesday while others take full advantage of the time and attend many luncheons masked balls and parades. Parades are generally the highlight for the majority of those who observe Mardi Gras and though Mobile and New Orleans have the biggest and oldest celebrations many other communities all along the Gulf Coast are forming their own societies.
In honor of the celebration that he knew was taking place in France on that very day he named the spot Point du Mardi Gras. As more settlers arrived from France the customs that they had practiced there slowly began to take shape into what we now know as Mardi Gras. As popular as Mardi Gras has become in the United States most people only know half of the Mardi Gras tradition. While many know that the celebration is related to Lent what many do not know is that it is also related to Christmas. Carnival as the actual season is known begins on the same date every year. Only the actual date of Mardi Gras changes. This date to kick of the Carnival season is January 6. The date is also referred to as 12th night.