History of Mardi Gras: Why is it called Fat Tuesday?

Origin of Mardi Gras

Historically, Lenten fasting became mandatory, especially abstinence from eating meat. While recommended by St. Athanasius, bishop of Alexandria in his Festal Letter III to his flock in Egypt in 331 AD, by the Middle Ages Lent was enforced throughout Europe, especially the forbidding of meat during the final weeks before Easter.

Mardi Gras and Carnival

Venice mask shop
  • In England, the Tuesday just before Ash Wednesday is called Shrove Tuesday, following Shrove Monday, and is celebrated by eating rich food that won’t be consumed during Lent.
  • In the British Isles and some former countries of the British Commonwealth, Pancake Tuesday is a popular way of celebrating the day and eliminating rich foodstuffs from the pantry during Lent.
  • Brazil is famous for its Sambadrome Carnival parade. This year due to the Coronavirus pandemic, it will be not be holding its annual parade. The last time it was suspended was in 1912 following the death of the foreign relations minister.

Meat after Mardi Gras?

Zurich Grossmunster

Writer and technologist. Author of fascinating articles about history, tech trends, and pop culture. billpetro.com @billpetro

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