History of Mardi Gras

Do you celebrate Mardi Gras? While Mardi Gras only enjoys official legal holiday status in Louisiana, our Senior Lifestyle communities find unique ways to celebrate the holiday, so if you’re eating King Cake and sporting purple, gold and green on the Tuesday just prior to Ash Wednesday, you’re certainly not alone! Mardi Gras, literally “Fat Tuesday”, is the traditional time of merrymaking that precedes the season of Lent. The tradition of Mardi Gras is celebrated across the United States and around the world with parades, traditional meals and other festivities.

Contemporary observations of Mardi Gras evolved from pre-Lenten celebrations in medieval Europe aimed at enjoying foods that would be forbidden during the 40 days of Lent, with the Mardi Gras celebration taking place before Ash Wednesday. Traditionally, rich foods were consumed on Fat Tuesday, removing the temptation of eggs, cheese, meat and other fatty foods from homes before revelers commenced with the different types of fasting required during the Lenten season. The tradition of Mardi Gras in Europe was especially popular in areas with significant Roman Catholic populations.

The tradition of Mardi Gras spread from Europe to the United States, with the earliest known celebration occurring in 1703 in the tiny settlement of Fort Louis de la Mobile. By the 1730’s, revelers in New Orleans celebrated with lavish dinners and masquerade parties. The earliest recorded parade in New Orleans took place in 1837, and that tradition continues yearly, with different organized groups of revelers called “krewes” creating more fantastic and elaborate floats every year. While Fat Tuesday is the high point of the celebrations, many Mardi Gras celebrations begin the week before the actual date and culminate in a parade.

At Senior Lifestyle, we hope you enjoy knowing the history of your Mardi Gras celebration! To learn more about celebrations and activities at a Senior Lifestyle community in your area or to schedule a tour, please visit our website at www.seniorlifestyle.com.

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