La petite histoire de Mardi Gras …. The History of Mardi Gras

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History of Fat Tuesday around the world
Why is Mardi Gras the largest celebration in the world?

Who knows but maybe it is because the theme is letting the crazier part out of us,with parades, parties and wearing fun Mardi Gras costumes.

It is not called Mardi Gras everywhere, mainly in France and the United States. In Italy where it originated and most of the world it is called Carnivale or similar in Germany it is called Karneval.

This party of parties has survived though priests and rulers that have canceled it when things get TOO out of control. It would reappear even after being outlawed.

What is Mardi Gras all about ?

Mardi Gras centers around the theme of having a festival before the Lenten season. This starts on the 12th day after Christmas, which is January 6th and goes through the day before Ash Wednesday, which is always 46 days before Easter. This last day of the festival is known as Mardi Gras, which means in French, Fat Tuesday. Fat ( gras) and Tuesday (Mardi) More about the Mardi Gras around the world

Through history during this festival there have been all kinds of feasts, Masquerade balls and parades, to have a good time before we go into a serious time of sacrifice durning the lenten season.

Who thought up Mardi Gras ?

The festival called Lupercalia
Celebrating around this time in February goes back even before ancient Roman times where they celebrated a festival called Lupercalia. It centered around fertility and to ward off evil for the new year, which back then was March 1st. That is when people married and started to plant , so life became serious.

In fact the name February comes from “Februa” which were Strips of hide from a goat that had been sacrificed to the god of fertility during the festival of Lupercalia.

The Catholic church sure didn’t like the towns folk to be celebrating a festival based on pagan beliefs but recognized that the people loved to party. So they decided to change it to a Christian theme, based around the Lenten season. Modern Italian “carnevale” that comes from Old Italian “carnelevare”; Carne = meat, levare = raise, put away, remove. This refers to the fact that you will soon be fasting or eating meatless meals and giving things up in remembrance of the crucifixion of Christ, or Easter.

How is Mardi Gras celebrated in other parts of the world

In Ireland, Australia, and Canada, Shrove Tuesday is known as “Pancake Tuesday”, while in Britain it is popularly known as “Pancake Day”.

In both regions the traditional pancake is a very thin one (like a French crêpe) which is served immediately sprinkled with caster sugar (superfine sugar in the United States) and a dash of fresh lemon juice or alternatively drizzled with Golden syrup.

In the Canadian province of Newfoundland, household objects are baked into the pancakes and served to family members. Rings, thimbles, thread, coins, and other objects all have meanings associated with them. The lucky one to find coins in their pancake will be rich, the finder of the ring will be the first married, and the finder of the thimble will be a seamstress or tailor. Children have great fun with the tradition, and often eat more than their fill of pancakes in search of a desired object.

One little recipe from NOLA

Shrimp-and-Crab Gumbo

INGREDIENTS

STOCK
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 3 pounds medium shrimp, shelled and deveined, shells reserved
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 gallon plus 2 cups clam juice
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 2 celery ribs, chopped
  • 1 large carrot, chopped
  • 8 bay leaves
ROUX
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
GUMBO
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 4 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 2 celery ribs, finely chopped
  • 2 cups canned crushed tomatoes
  • 1 large green bell pepper, finely chopped
  • 1 pound okra, sliced into 1/2-inch rounds
  • 1 tablespoon chile powder
  • 1 tablespoon paprika
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons filé powder (see Note)
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon ground white pepper
  • Salt
  • Shelled and deveined shrimp (from the stock)
  • 1 pound lump crabmeat, picked over
  • Steamed rice, sliced scallions and Tabasco, for serving

HOW TO MAKE THIS RECIPE

    1. In a stockpot, heat the oil. Add the shrimp shells and cook over high heat, until starting to brown, 5 minutes. Add the tomato paste and cook until it begins to stick to the pot, 2 minutes. Add the clam juice, onion, celery, carrot and bay leaves and bring to a boil. Simmer over moderately low heat for 25 minutes. Strain the stock into a heatproof bowl.
 
  1. In a saucepan, whisk the flour with the oil to make a paste. Cook over moderate heat, stirring often, until the roux turns golden brown, 30 minutes. Increase the heat to moderately high and cook, stirring, until the roux is dark brown, 10 minutes longer. Scrape the roux into a bowl and reserve.
  2. In the stockpot, heat 2 tablespoons of the oil. Add the garlic, onion and celery; cook over moderate heat, stirring, until softened. Add the roux and cook until bubbling. Stir in the stock and tomatoes and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to moderately low. Simmer for 1 1/2 hours, until no floury taste remains; skim off the fat.
  3. In a skillet, heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil. Add the green pepper, okra, chile powder, paprika, filé, oregano, thyme, cayenne and white pepper. Season with salt and cook over moderately low heat, stirring, until fragrant, 5 minutes. Stir in a ladleful of the liquid in the stockpot, scrape up the browned bits and transfer to the gumbo in the pot. Simmer, stirring, for 1 hour.
  4. Add the shrimp to the pot and cook, until just white throughout, 2 minutes. Stir in the crab; season with salt.