Learn more about the food origins of Mardi Gras with the Catholic Foodie! From explaining to how the date of Mardi Gras is determined to how the holiday got its name, dive into some food facts from a chef in one of the tastiest cities in the world.
Publish Date: Feb 15, 2021
like faith because Mardi Gras fat Tuesday is all about, Really? It's all about Ash Wednesday and getting ready for Lindt. Um, you know, another word from monograph at Tuesday is Carnival and Carnival is actually the combination of two words Karnei and valet. And what those two words being Carney is meet you. We still have that word in Spanish. Carney. You may have heard of carne asada, which is kind of like a roasted beef. So you have you still have that word and usage and, uh, in in Spanish. But Carney is meat. And then valley was the ancient ancient. I guess it was ancient, but it was a latin way of saying goodbye. So really, Carnival is about saying goodbye to meet. And of course, is Catholics we know. You know, during Lent 40 days of Lent, we we abstained from meat on Fridays. We also fast on Ash Wednesday and good Friday. Uh huh. And a part of fasting, of course, is that there's no meat. You abstained from meat. Now the church and and not not too distant. Uh, the not too distant history, I guess, of the church. Uh, the requirements, the regulations the fasting and the abstaining during Lent was actually a bit more strict than it is today. I know that's probably hard to believe today. It's kind of it's kind of it's kind of soft, you know, Fasting technically in the church today means that you eat one meal like one big meal, I guess, or one regular meal and then two small meals that don't together equal the one big meal or bigger meal. Uh, that's called fasting in the church. Today is not much right. It's not hard, it's not hard at all, and you just have to refrain from me. But it used to be. They had to refrain from anything that came from animals. It could be eggs, for instance, or butter. All kind of things. Milk, all kind of things that can come from animals like that you'd have to refrain from. You have to abstain from, so it's a lot easier today. But you can imagine back in that time when you had, uh, milk and butter and meat and all these things. They're in a time. Let's say before refrigeration, you have a season coming up where you can't eat. What are you going to do. You want to get rid of all of it. So how do you get rid of all of it? Well, you throw a big party and you eat it, and that's that's kind of the beginnings of of Carnival season. And you know, you've got carnival season all over. It's not just New Orleans. New Orleans is one of the most famous areas for Carnival from Mardi Gras. But you have it all over. There's there's celebrations like this all over the place. And I mean, for us, you know, here in New Orleans you go from are actually sent all South Louisiana. The body cross is actually a season, not just a day. It's a season. It starts on King's Day, right, which is epiphany January 6th, and it goes through Mardi Gras Day fat Tuesday, the day before Ash Wednesday. And during that period of time, you've got celebrations, you've got parties, you've got king cakes like I've talked about before. You have, uh, parades, and there's not just parades like on Mardi Gras Day or even the weekend before. You've got parades kind of spread out throughout the season, and some of them are during the week at night. Some of them are on the weekends, both at night and during the day. And then, of course, you've got today lundi gras. You've got the big Orpheus parade going downtown, uh, parading along ST Charles Avenue and then down into the city. Uh, this evening, probably right now, actually. And then tomorrow, of course, you've got the parades in the morning. Big parades followed by these other parades. We call them truck Parades where they're not really fancy floats is just thes thes Big 18 wheeler trucks pulling the trailers with people there with kind of a decorated trailer throwing beads. But lots of parades, too. All this stuff leads up to Fat Tuesday, which gets us ready for Lent. Now some of the rationale behind this, you know. First of all, you can look at it from a Catholic perspective. First of all, where does the date for Mardi Gras come from? It's based on the date of Ash Wednesday, right, Ash Wednesdays. Date is based on the date of Easter And when? When is when is Easter's date you know, changes every year for us. How do we determine the date of Easter every year by the light of the moon, right? It's it's a lunar feast and it is based on the full moon. I think it's the It's the first full moon after the vernal equinox. If I'm not mistaken, eso is based on lunar, the lunar phases. It's a lunar feast. This goes back all the way to the Jews, right? The Israel lights, uh, in the feast that they had, they had a feast in the month of Nice and they called it. That would be like they're they're the beginning of their year. And here you have Easter Ah, big feast for them by a different name and eso we follow the same pattern. We follow the same pattern. It's a lot