Catholic history of Mardi Gras, Fat Tuesday, Lent and Ash Wednesday

, / 3rd March, 2019

The historical roots of Carnival and Mardi Gras lie in the Catholic calendar. It is the “last hurrah” before Lent begins on Ash Wednesday. That’s why the enormous party in New Orleans, for example, ends abruptly at midnight on Tuesday, with battalions of street sweepers pushing the crowds out of the French Quarter towards home.

Mardi Gras literally means “Fat Tuesday” in French. The name comes from the tradition of slaughtering and feasting upon a fattened calf on the last day of Carnival. The day is also known as Shrove Tuesday (from “shriven” “to confess”), Pancake Tuesday and fetter Dienstag. The custom of making pancakes comes from the need to use up fat, eggs and dairy before the fasting and abstinence of Lent begins.

Carnival comes from the words carne vale, meaning “farewell to meat.”

The Catholic Mass is the source and summit of our Faith, but few are aware of what it all means. This video will help you see how the Mass Explained app team of designers used technology to explain the historical development and significance of the prayers, Catholic Mass readings and responses in the liturgy.

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