Shrove Tuesday / Mardi Gras in United States of America 2020
When is Shrove Tuesday / Mardi Gras?
25th Feb, 2020
13 February, 2018
5 March, 2019
25 February, 2020
Mardi Gras / Shrove Tuesday is celebrated on the last day before the long fast for Lent in many Christian churches.
Shrove Tuesday, celebrated on the last day before Lent marks the beginning of the period of fasting in the liturgical calendar. Otherwise referred to as Mardi Gras, Pancake Day, and Fat Tuesday, it features large celebrations and festivals all around the United States.
This traditional feast day begins before the beginning of Lent on Ash Wednesday.
Lent, which marks the forty days leading up to Easter, was traditionally marked out as a period of fasting. On Shrove Tuesday/Mardi Gras, therefore, Anglo-Saxon Christians would go to confession to get shriven, or absolved from their sins.
Each year, Shrove Tuesday is celebrated by people in the United States. In New Orleans, people mark Mardi Gras, which translates to Fat Tuesday from the French. This holiday occurs before Ash Wednesday and is the official beginning of Lent, a season of fasting in the lead up to Easter Sunday.
Shrove Tuesday / Mardi Gras is a popular cultural phenomenon and Christian holiday. It dates back to the fertility rites and pagan spring that occurred thousands of years ago, but which have since been integrated into the celebration.
Also referred to as Carnival, this day is now celebrated in the United States among Roman Catholic populations as the day before the religious period of Lent starts. These celebrations often involve large public festivals that attract thousands of revelers and tourists every year.
A variety of related popular practices are now commonly associated with the Shrovetide celebrations of Mardi Gras. However, the main reason why we celebrate this day is to mark the official start of the religious and fasting obligations related to the penitential season of Lent.
In the United States, Shrove Tuesday is also referred to as Mardi Gras, Pancake Day, or Fat Tuesday. Shrove is derived from the term shrive, which means to confess. Therefore, it is a day of confession.
A holiday is some areas in the U.S. (including, among others, Louisiana, Baldwin and Mobile Counties, Alabama, and certain parts of Florida), Shrove Tuesday often acts as the main festival featuring large celebrations and carnivals.
It is used to mark the last day right before the long period of fasting (Lent) for many Christian communities.
In particular, areas with significant Roman Catholic populations celebrate Shrove Tuesday/Mardi Gras with expansive carnival festivities featuring an amalgam of native, African, and European traditions.
Other names for Shrove Tuesday include Mardi Gras, Pancake Day, and Fat Tuesday. During this day, Christian faithful confess, do penance, and are shriven, meaning that they are absolved of their sins.
The title Fat Tuesday comes from the fact that people use up all their fatty foods before they begin Lent.
Pancake Day, on the other hand, came much later because on this day, people ate all their rich foods – including sugar, milk, and eggs before they started the 40 days of Lent (fasting).
Technically, Shrove Tuesday or Mardi Gras or Fat Tuesday is the last Tuesday just before Ash Wednesday. As such, the day officially ushers in the 40 days of fasting and best behavior expected of Catholic faithful (and other Christians). Carnival, on the other hand, is the season that kick-starts the Feast of Epiphany.
Both terms are used to refer to the fasting and penance that those who celebrate Shrove Tuesday engage in. Holiday Type A popular cultural phenomenon, Fat Tuesday or Shrove Tuesday or Mardi Gras is a Christian holiday dating back thousands of years.
Fat Tuesday / Shrove Tuesday / Mardi Gras is a Christian holiday dating back thousands of years.
YES. Fat Tuesday / Shrove Tuesday / Mardi Gras is a celebrated in major cities like:
- New Orleans, Louisiana
- Lafayette, Louisiana
- Lake Charles, Louisiana
- Mobile, Alabama
- Galveston, Texas
- Port Arthur, Texas
- Dallas, Texas
- St. Louis, Missouri
- Orlando, Florida
- Pensacola, Florida
- San Diego, California
There is more to Mardi Gras than the festivities that are commonly associated with New Orleans. As the alternative name (Shrove Tuesday) suggests, this day is celebrated on a Tuesday and always falls 47 days right before Easter.
As such, the date for Shrove Tuesday tends to move from one year to the next. However, it is always between the 3rd of February and the 9th of March.
Shrove Tuesday is a legal holiday in a couple of states, particularly Louisiana. In spite of the preponderance of what seems like illegal and energetic activity, it was legalized in Louisiana when Governor Warmoth officially signed the Mardi Gras Act in 1875.
In Alabama, it is a state holiday – particularly in Mobile and Baldwin Counties.
Similarly, governing authorities in any county or municipality in Mississippi are legally allowed to declare the day a holiday as a replacement for any legal holiday (apart from Martin Luther King’s birthday).
Florida also legally recognizes Shrove Tuesday.
In those states where it is a public holiday (in Louisiana, in Baldwin and Mobile Counties, Alabama, and in certain parts of Florida), there is NO school on Shrove Tuesday.
The Post Offices in states where Shrove Tuesday/Mardi Gras is a public holiday (in Louisiana, in Baldwin and Mobile Counties, Alabama, and in certain parts of Florida) do not open up on the day.
The Stock Market is open on Shrove Tuesday. This includes the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE), National Association Of Securities Dealers Automated Quotation System (NASDAQ), American Stock Exchange (Amex), BSE, BEX, BOX, CBOE, CBOT, CME, CHX, ISE, MS4X, NSX, PHLX – all are open.
In states where Shrove Tuesday / Mardi Gras is a public holiday (in Louisiana, in Baldwin and Mobile Counties, Alabama, and in certain parts of Florida), schools, universities, post offices, bank offices, and government offices usually close. However, shops, parks, and malls are open.
In states where Shrove Tuesday / Mardi Gras is a public holiday (Louisiana, Baldwin and Mobile Counties, Alabama, and certain parts of Florida), schools, universities, post offices, bank offices, and government offices usually close. However, shops, parks, and malls are open.
Shrove Tuesday / Mardi Gras has an infinitely exponential explanation. For different people, it means different things – a state holiday, a piece of history, a way of life, a day, an idea, an event, or countless memories and millions of parades.
People love the day because of all these connotations.
Historians generally believe that the first Shrove Tuesday / Mardi Gras celebration in the United States took place on the 3rd of March, 1699 when Bienville and Iberville (two French explorers) first landed in what is now known as Louisiana, a couple of miles south of the future epicenter of the holiday: New Orleans.
The explorers held a small celebration and gave the spot the name Point du Mardi Gras.
However, Shrove Tuesday / Mardi Gras goes far back than that to thousands of years before when pagans celebrated fertility and spring – including the raucous Roman festivals of Lupercalia and Saturnalia.
Once the Romans started converting to Christianity, religious leaders incorporated these local traditions into the new celebration – which was easier to accomplish than abolishing them altogether.
Therefore, the debauchery and excesses of the Mardi Gras season became the official prelude to Lent when people were observed penance and fasted over 40 days.
As a family and Christian holiday, Shrove Tuesday/Mardi Gras allows people to watch and join in parades with other Christian families. In New Orleans, the best spots to watch the parades include Napoleon and St. Charles, where turning parades spend time to wheedle around for the celebrations.
Mardi Gras is the one day of the year when people are allowed to eat anything and everything, as well as to throw food in and around the kitchen. As such, people stock up on sugar, lemons, bananas, and chocolate spread to celebrate the day – which is why it is also referred to as Pancake Day.
Traditionally, Shrove Tuesday/Mardi Gras recipes involve delicious foods, including pancakes, crepes, and other sweet dishes.
In most states (including Louisiana, Baldwin and Mobile Counties, Alabama, and certain parts of Florida), people celebrate Shrove Tuesday/Mardi Gras with festivities, parades, and carnivals.
In New Orleans, which is commonly associated with Mardi Gras, revelers go out into the streets and engage in raucous celebrations and fetes.
During the Shrove Tuesday/Mardi Gras parade, people throw beads. In the 1880s, a reveler dressed as Santa Claus started the tradition by throwing beads and other krewes (pronounced in the same way as “crew”) followed suit.
People also throw all manner of items while parading, including dirt and food. The floats, in particular, provide a strategic spot where revelers can throw items out.
The most famous place to celebrate Mardi Gras in the United States is in the city of New Orleans. But it is not the only place to go for a carnival atmosphere.
There are other popular Mardi Gras destinations:
Lake Charles, Louisiana
Port Arthur, Texas
St. Louis, Missouri
San Diego, California
As the last day right before Lent (a period for penance and fasting), Shrove Tuesday/Mardi Gras features large celebrations and festivals all over the United States.
In particular, there are expansive parades in New Orleans, which is typical of the street dancing and masquerades that occur in other parts of the US (including Baldwin and Mobile Counties, Alabama, and certain parts of Florida) before the extended Lenten fast.
During the celebrations, revelers dress up in attractive and eye-catching costumes. They also attend spectacular balls, while debutantes are introduced into society at the Ball Tableau. People also throw trinkets into the crowds as part of a customary parade throw.
Due to the masquerades that occur during Mardi Gras, people wear elaborate masks – both to the parades and to the balls.
While preparing for the start of the Lenten season, Christians all over the United States and elsewhere on the globe are encouraged to pray to God asking for assistance during the 40 days of penance and fasting.
5 Shrove Tuesday / Mardi Gras Important Facts
- Originally this holiday was celebrated to mark the last day right before the long period of fasting (Lent).
- Most common activity for families in this holiday is watch the special street parades and carnivals.
- Some people refer to this holiday as the Pancake Day.
- 3rd of March, 1699, was the first Shrove Tuesday / Mardi Gras celebration.
- School and businesses activities are dependent on what state you are when holiday is celebrated.
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