What is Mardi Gras?

Mardi Gras is the French translation of “Fat Tuesday”.  Those who know Spanish can see the resemblance in Martes (Tuesday) and grasa (fat).  Fat Tuesday or Mardi Gras occurs the day immediately preceding Ash Wednesday, the first day of Lent. In mid February, the pagans in the Roman empire celebrated the Lupercalia, a circus-like festival.  Like other holidays, the Roman Catholic religion decided to adopt the practices of the pagans rather than offend the newly "Christianized" masses.

Mardi Gras is celebrated for a few weeks, depending on the location in the world, in a festival called Carnival.  Unbridled partying, drunkenness, sex and debauchery are the features of this festival.  Freqently Carnival is celebrated in Central America, South America and Southern Europe where Catholic traditions are strong.  New Orleans is the largest and most famous Mardi Gras celebration in the United States.  Elaborate costumes and barely clothed women are common in Mardi Gras parades.

Since the Catholic teaching of Lent stipulates that the faithful refrain from sinful practices, fast and pray during the 40 days of Lent, Mardi Gras has been a tradition for centuries to have a huge party just before the days of Lent.  Think of it as one last binge before giving something up for 40 days.

There is either a serious misunderstanding or ignorance of God’s word in the combination of Mardi Gras and Lent.  The Bible says that Christians should avoid willful sin and uncontrolled behavior all of the year, not just during Lent or Holy Week.

“Let us walk properly, as in the day, not in revelry and drunkenness, not in lewdness and lust, not in strife and envy. But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to fulfill its lusts.” Romans 13:13-14

When is Fat Tuesday?
March 8, 2011
February 21, 2012
February 12, 2013
March 4, 2014
February 17, 2015