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Mardi Gras is About More than Partying

Photographer Kyle Dearing

Photographer Kyle Dearing

By Kyle Dearing, Web Staff

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Last weekend in many cities across not only the United States but also across the world came together to celebrate Mardi Gras. But do you know why?

“Mardi Gras is French for “Fat Tuesday”, reflecting the practice of the last night of eating richer, fatty foods before the ritual fasting of the Lenten season.” Mardi Gras wasn’t until Feb. 28, but last weekend (Known as Mardi Gras weekend) is when all the big parades go on across the world, especially the one right here in Saint Louis, which makes it way through Soulard. 

Mardi Gras festivities begin on or after the Christian feasts of the Epiphany (Three Kings Day) and happens on the day before Ash Wednesday.

Students throughout FHN may be seen walking the halls with an ash cross on their forehead in celebration of Ash Wednesday, signifying the beginning of the season of Lent. Lent season (a time for Christians to pay respect to Jesus’ sacrifices, suffering, life and death, through both increased mindfulness, prayer and adherence to certain practices) starts today March 1 and goes until April 15.

In the Saint Louis area, there are multiple fish fries held.  During the Lent season many are told to eat “like the poor would”. Fasting, but not necessarily not eating any food. But having a strict diet and avoiding certain foods. One of those is meat. You may think fish is a meat, but to Christians fish is not a meat or a ‘upperclass’ meat. Because back in the Roman times even an average man could catch a fish and feed his family. Also because Jesus’ flesh was that of a warm-blooded mammal and fish was and is a cold-blooded animal. Biblically, the meat of a fish is different from a man, beast and bird. Fish has been a staple in Christian diets for a very long time. It’s a core part of Lent to include it in meals during the fast. While explanations might differ as to why fish is allowed during Lent, it has always been and will likely remain an important part of this religious period.

While many people think of Mardi Gras as a way to celebrate, the events started out as a way to get their final fill of large quantities of food before fasting.  

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Mardi Gras is About More than Partying