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Monday, February 15, 2010

Mardi Gras Musings

Happy Mardi Gras Eve

We in Louisiana think we know about Mardi Gras. But it has been around for thousands of years. Certain historians think that ancient fertility rituals performed by some tribes were the roots of Mardi Gras. These rituals welcomed spring's arrival.

Parts of the customs from the old festivals are also found in Lupercalia, a Roman circus-like festival taking place annually in mid-February. The Catholic Church wanted to shift people's attention from pagan festivals so they instituted the festival of Carnival, derived from the Latin word carnelevamen { farewell to flesh.} Or Hello to Lent so to speak.

Mardi Gras came to North America in 1699 when the French-Canadian Pierre le Monye, Sieur de Iberville was exploring the Mississippi River. He and his men camped on a bend of the river sixty miles south of New Orleans on March 3.

Pierre knew that Mardi Gras was being celebrated back in France so he decided to name that spot Pointe du Mardi Gras. And the rest, as Sherman would say, is fra gras. Just don't tell PETA.

Alright, Mr. Peabody, Sherman, and the rest of you, return to the Way Back Machine and set it for tomorrow.

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