Mardi Gras, also known as “Fat Tuesday” refers to a celebration that takes place beginning on or after the Christian feasts of Three Kings Day and lasts until the day before Ash Wednesday.
Mardi Gras dates back as far as 133 B.C. The holiday began as an ancient Roman pagan celebration. Its purpose was to celebrate spring and fertility. Over time, Mardi Gras evolved into what it is today.
Several traditionally ethnic French cities in the United States hold spectacular celebrations during the Carnival season. One of the most well-known of these cities is New Orleans, La., but Mobile, Ala. and cities in Mississippi also partake in a notable observance of the holiday.
People have different perceptions regarding what Mardi Gras means as well as different experiences when it comes to celebrating. Ashur Smith, a sophomore art major, said Mardi Gras is a time to have fun with friends and other people you care about.
“My family always gets a king cake, and we eat it together,” Smith said. In regards to what makes Mardi Gras stand out as a holiday, Smith said, “It is unconventional in the sense that it is centered around partying and drinking to an extent.”
When asked if he thought Mardi Gras meant something different to different people, Smith replied, “It definitely does. To most people, it is about partying, but to some people, it is a religious holiday.”
Kaitlyn Myers, a junior business administration major, described Mardi Gras as a fun holiday.
“It is one big party before Ash Wednesday comes around. I have grown up knowing that Mardi Gras is the ‘fun and crazy’ holiday. I don’t normally celebrate Mardi Gras because I am not Catholic; however, I do participate in going to some of the parades because I love parades,” Myers said.
Myers said Mardi Gras is unique “because it lasts forever.”“People start celebrating a month ahead of time. I love the king cake that is connected to the holiday and the fun colors. Mardi Gras isn’t just celebrated one day, but a whole month,” Myers said.
Sabrina Darby, a junior hotel restaurant and tourism management major, is originally from Louisiana, where many consider the biggest and best Mardi Gras celebrations to take place.
“Mardi Gras is just a time you can get together with family and friends and hang out and let off some steam. It’s always a lot of fun because there’s awesome music, and everyone is yelling. And you get free stuff,” Darby said.
“It’s only celebrated in the South, and it gets bigger and better every year. There’s always more beads, music and a ton of good food,” Darby said.