February might mean Valentineís Day
for some of us, but itís certainly not the only holiday
that enjoys a bit of celebration this time of year. Mardi Gras is fast approaching, and this year will be an especially fun party to bring in the season of Lent.
What Is Mardi Gras?
If you were to just watch MTV, you might think that Mardi Gras
is an endless drunken exploit that involves too many bare chests, too many beads and more than enough alcohol. Unfortunately, there are quite a few people who make this true with their actions, but Mardi Gras isnít actually designed as a college riot. Itís a celebration to mark the start of Lent Ė the Christian season where, depending on religious beliefs, of course, you refrain from eating meat, you give up your vices, you endure hardships and you remember the suffering of Jesus for forty days.
In short, Mardi Gras is the big final blow out party before we have to settle down for the forty days of Lent.
America certainly isnít the only country to celebrate Fat Tuesday as itís called with a weeklong party. The tradition dates back the pagan festivals of ancient Rome. Like so many things, the church changed the fundamentals of the festival to be more tied to the new Christian faith. The week long carnival feel remained through and Mardi Gras is still celebrated as a huge celebration along many cities of the Gulf Coast as well as in Rio de Janeiro. There the elaborate Carnival is celebrated at the same time.
How Do You Celebrate Mardi Gras?
Most revelers for Mardi Gras head to the big party for the parades. There is almost always alcohol involved, but that doesnít have to be the overarching theme, nor should it. The parades for the big event are the main attraction and there are special presentations and awards that go along with the parade floats.
Youíll find bands marching and Kings and Queens riding. Elegant costumes and outlandish get-ups are all part of the fun as well. There will be all sorts of food items as well as drinks, and you can expect to be pelted with any number of fun items thrown from the floats.
When you attend Mardi Gras, youíll line up with your friends along the parade route and enjoy the wares of the street vendors. If youíre lucky youíll find your way up into an apartment or hotel that lines the streets where the parades occur and you can be on the balcony for the big event with a birdís eye view of the fun.
If youíre planning to attend Mardi Gras this year, youíll want to be decked out in sturdy walking shoes and the right colors. The bold colors of Mardi Gras are purple, which is the color of justice, green, a symbol of faith, and finally gold, which symbolizes power.