Archive for February, 2012

Tuesday, February 21, 2012 @ 11:02 AM
Mardi Gras in Mobile, Alabama is the oldest annual Carnival celebration in America, having begun in 1703. That is 15 years before New Orleans was founded  in 1718. From Mobile, being the first capital of French Louisiana in 1702, the festival began in North America as a French Catholic tradition.
Mardi Gras season or Carnival season which traditionally starts at Epiphany (Jan 6 or the Twelfth night) and comes to a raging head the day before Ash Wednesday, at midnight on Mardi Gras, French for “Fat Tuesday” or Shrove Tuesday.  Many places don’t celebrate for months of carnival. Many  start a week or two before, with most places celebrating 3-4 days before.
Mardi Gras is far from being a French or French American celebration. It is celebrated all over the world by my people of the Catholic/Christian faith. This tradition, also known as Shrovetide in the UK & Ireland, is for feasting and overindulgence, before the Lenten season, which begins Ash Wednesday. A time to eat rich, fatty foods and drink too excess before the fasting of Lent begins. In the Netherlands pre-Lenten celebration is Carnaval. Carnaval translated from Latin, or “Carne Vale”, means “Goodbye to the meat”.
Many Fat Tuesday foods in America, now associated with Mardi Gras, do come from Creole and Cajun ancestry. Both groups now having strong ties to Louisiana and the previously French occupied southern regions of the United States. Creole being of mixed ethnicity, with strong French and Spanish influence, Cajun being more largely tied to French speaking Acadians who came from the now Coastal Canadian Maritimes. One of the most popular American dishes served during Mardi Gras tends to be Jambalaya. This is a rice, vegetable and meat dish. Traditionally the ingredients for Jambalaya were gathered by people in in festive clothing and masks, from knocking on community doors. Whatever ingredients were acquired were brought together in a large cast iron pot and cooked until done. Later the whole community would come together and partake in the dish. Many other traditional Cajun and Creole dishes are also served, like gumbo, etouffee, and crawfish boils. But again, it is a time of indulgence. There are also plenty of fried foods cooked in outdoor propane deep fryers, turkey fryers and Cajun Fryers. Beer and other alcohols find their way into the mix.
Overindulgence, high cholesterol and hangovers abound! Eat drink and be merry, for tomorrow we fast!!! Happy Fat Tuesday all!
Did you like this? Share it: