Welcome to Mardi Gras (Fat Tuesday in French). The day before Ash Wednesday and the beginning of the 40 penitential days of Lent. One last blow-out before all that self-denial and atonement. Oddly two symbols have come to represent Mardi Gras recently. The consumption of pancakes and the flashing of breasts in an effort to obtain Mardi Gras beads.
According to AmericanCatholic.org: “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 “to shrive,” or hear confessions). The custom of making pancakes comes from the need to use up fat, eggs and dairy before the fasting and abstinence of Lent begins.”
That explains the pancakes, but what about the flashing? Does this spring from some strange over-bearing desire to wear cheap plastic beads? Or is it a status thing? “Check-out my beads, I’m a free-spirit, party-girl!”
I just find it interesting that these two symbols, one flat as a pancake, the other … well … varying degrees of non-flat, have come to play such a role in Mardi Gras.
Happy Mardi Gras!