Why Do People Celebrate Mardi Gras

The term Mardi Gras refers to the events of Carnival celebrations that start on or after the epiphany. The history of Mardi Gras is based on thousands of years and it is often related to the beginning of Lent and the roots of this event go back to ancient Rome.

The Saturnalia and Lupercalla

The Saturnalia and Lupercalla are the two Roman feasts whose influence can be seen in a great deal on shaping the present day carnival. It is on February, 15th when Lupercalla takes place in the honor of Pan, the god of fertility. It is also associated with the Juno, wife of Zuno related to fertility as well.

Celebrate Mardi Gras Why Do People Celebrate Mardi Gras

Animal sacrifice is the major practice of this ritual festival. The Lupercali (priests) cut the skins of a couple of goats off and while passing by the women throw the skin at any woman. This practice has remained a popular practice of this event throughout the course of Mardi Gras history.

The purpose of hitting the women with a skin suggests that the women who are being hit by the skin would become fertile. This is not the end as women do everything in order to seek attention of the priest including exposing breasts. The practice of exposing breasts has survived till the present time. Other practices include drinking, dancing and many other bizarre activities.

Christian Influence

The practice of celebrating Mardi Gras was remained popular even after the appearance of Christianity. With the passage of time, we have seen a number of new trends merge in the festival. One such practice is the donning masks where people with a view to hide their identity put the masks. Later, donning the masks entertained with wearing the more exotic costumes.

Church when realized that there is no possible way to stop this festivals, they let them to continue but with a slight modification as they associated it with the Lenten season and the decision was made that the carnival will be held just a day before the Ash Wednesday and later it became popular as Fat Tuesday. Lent is the period of fasting, prayers and patience observed by Church and hence the Fat Tuesday became the last day for people to involve themselves in worldly activities, drinking, eating etc.

Carnival throughout the World

Over the time, the carnival became a popular practice throughout the entire continent, especially in France and was characterized by grand balls, floats and colorful parades. Even in United Kingdom, a day is celebrated named Pancake day. These events were in the end brought to the New World by English people and some of the remarkable carnival events held in New Orleans and Rio Janeiro, Brazil.

The Carnival in New Orleans

With the settlement of French and Spaniards in the South, the history of Mardi Gras began in New Orleans and since then this carnival has become the regular practice in New Orleans.

Celebrate Mardi Gras 1 Why Do People Celebrate Mardi Gras

It was believed that in New Orleans the history goes back to 1857 when it was first held there. In that festival most of the people symbolized themselves as the characters found in Milton’s Paradise Lost as well the dramatic representations of Walter Scott’s Talisman.

The Carnival Today

At present, these carnivals have become mega events in many parts of the world where thousands of people take part in these events and many TV channels broadcast the coverage of these events as well. These events are also a great source of attracting the tourists in New Orleans and Rio de Janeiro.

Irrespective of the history of the Mardi Gras, these events are now a great source of having a pleasure time with lots of frenzied activities.

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