Learn More About Mardi Gras and Ash Wednesday

Learn More About Mardi Gras and Ash Wednesday

While Mardi Gras and Ash Wednesday have already passed, learn more about these interesting celebrations.

Mardi Gras, also known as “Fat Tuesday,” refers to the celebration leading up to Ash Wednesday.  Mardi Gras got its name from the practice of eating rich, fatty foods before the traditional fasting associated with Ash Wednesday.   In America, Mardi Gras is most associated with New Orleans, Louisiana.  In New Orleans, Mardi Gras loses its religious connotation and it is celebrated with massive parades and parties on the streets.

In contrast, Ash Wednesday marks the first day of Lent in Western Christianity.  This religious holiday marks the 40 days of fasting (excluding Sundays) leading up to Easter.  Ash Wednesday gets its name from the practice of using ashes to mark the sign on the cross on people’s foreheads as a form of blessing.

In honor of Mardi Gras and Ash Wednesday, enjoy some interesting facts about these holidays.

1) Mardi Gras is also known as “Pancake Day.”  This is because people in Ireland, England, Australia, New Zealand, and Canada celebrate by eating pancakes and participating in pancake themed events.

2) The official colors of Mardi Gras are purple, gold, and green.  Purple stands for justice, gold stands for power, and green stands for faith.

3) The first Mardi Gras parade took place all the way back in 1837.

4) In New Orleans, the people riding floats are mandated by law to wear masks.  The original purpose of the mask law was to eliminate the constraints of the social hierarchy, allowing people to mingle freely.

5) The traditional distribution of ashes on Ash Wednesday was to remind humanity of their own mortality and invited worshippers to repent for their sins.  Traditionally, those who had left the Church would publicly repent and beg for readmittance on Ash Wednesday.

6) Lent mirrors Jesus’ own 40 days of fasting.

7) The ashes used on Ash Wednesday are made by burning the blessed palms that were distributed on Palm Sunday of the previous year.

These are some of the interesting facts about Mardi Gras and Ash Wednesday. Want to experience a little bit of Mardi Gras in Southern California?  Then make sure you mark your calendar for the next Simi Valley Cajun & Blues Music Festival.  In the summer of 2019, Simi Valley will come alive with Cajun music and food, zydeco music, blues music, a Mardi Gras parade, zydeco dance lessons, and more!  To learn more about this exciting local event, contact Simi Valley Cajun & Blues Music Festival today.