Mardi Gras- Boyace Van Harlan Jr.,PhD

maskWhat is Mardi Gras? Mardi Gras, also known as, Fat Tuesday refers to events of the Carnival Celebrations.  Carnival comes from the Latin words carne vale, meaning “farewell to the flesh.” Like many Catholic holidays and seasonal celebrations, it likely has its roots in pre-Christian traditions based on the seasons. Some believe the festival represented the few days added to the lunar calendar to make it coincide with the solar calendar; since these days were outside the calendar, rules and customs were not obeyed. Others see it as a late-winter celebration designed to welcome the coming spring. As early as the middle of the second century, the Romans observed a Fast of 40 Days, which was preceded by a brief season of feasting, costumes and merrymaking. I have had the pleasure of living in Southwest Louisiana for the past twenty years and I have not had the desire to participate in the raucous, sometimes hedonistic events surrounded by this week festivities. I have made the conscious decision to use this time for reflection and quiet contemplation. I have found it to be far more advantageous to be sober and reflective. To take this time back to its true religious roots.