Posted by: nazli | February 5, 2008

Fastnacht, Fat Tuesday, Mardi Gras … Super Tuesday!

Mardi Gras: “the last opportunity to feast and have fun, before 40 days of self-denial“. The name sounds exotic, but it means “Fat Tuesday” in French.The most famous celbrations are in Nice (France), Cologne (Germany), Rio de Janeiro (Brazil) and New Orleans (USA). The official colours for Mardi Gras are purple (to represent justice), green (stands for faith) and gold (which symbolizes power).

In Venice,
the practice of wearing masks for disguise reached its pinnacle in the 18th Century, when Venetians of different social classes used Carnival as an excuse to mingle.
Not to be outdone, there are also fastnacht parades in Germany. Also not to forget Pennsylvania, where the PA Dutch celebrate Fastnacht by using up all the fat in the house by making fastnacht pastries. Try some recipes.
Others call this pre-Lenten Tuesday (before Ash Wednesday), carnival – in Latin root, “kiss your flesh goodbye.”

Shrove Tuesday or Pancake Day. gets its name from the ritual of “shriving” that Christians used to undergo in the past. In shriving, a person confesses their sins and receives absolution for them. In fact, over 1000 years ago a monk wrote in the Anglo-Saxon Ecclesiastical Institutes, “in the week immediately before Lent everyone shall go to his confessor and confess his deeds and the confessor shall so shrive him.

“Dear Confessor, I danced in the carnival, hid myself behind a mask, ate lots of pancakes and I feel fat this Tuesday. Please shrive me so I may strive to turn into a new leaf in the next 40 days.”

In Olney, UK, Shrove Tuesday is celebrated with a Pancake Day Race – which, as the tales have it – started in 1445 when an unknown woman, cooking pancakes, heard the shriving bell summoning her to confession. In haste, she ran to church wearing her apron and still holding her frying pan and thus, this English Rose started a charming tradition. Try some. Also there is a tradition of having semla on Shrove Tuesday.
OH – and I nearly forgot with all this carnival hoopla! It’s Super Tuesday 2008! Barack and Hilary in dead heat. McCain moving forward. Romney feeling the love from “conservatives“, the likes of Hannity, Limbaugh, O’Reilly, and the party of one, Ann Coulter.

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