Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Mardi Gras

Throughout much of the Western Hemisphere, especially that portion which was eventually settled by the Catholic nations of France, Portugal, and Spain, the days preceding Lent are referred to as the “Carnival” (possibly from the Latin carne vale, which means "farewell to meat"). In the state of Louisiana and thereabouts, the weekend preceding the beginning of Lent culminates in the celebration of today, which is variously known as Shrove Tuesday or Fat Tuesday -- in French, “Mardi Gras” ...

Even the typical Mardi Gras phrase, “Throw me something mister,” is colored by the Saints recent Super Bowl win.

Instead crowds shouted “Who Dat,” the preferred rallying cry of Saint’s fans, as they threw their arms into the air to catch throws during parades today.

“I’m a Saints fan,” said Eric Aubry, 45, who shouted the phrase as a Zulu float passed his usual spot ...

When I was a teenager, a classmate of mine bragged to me of her adventures to New Orleans and getting arrested for this occasion. I remember thinking it sounded perfectly dreadful. Even today, I still don't think much of the idea. Of course, if you leave the "Big Easy", drive by Baton Rouge as though it didn't exist, and head west along Interstate 10 toward the southwestern part of the state, to cities like Lafayette and Lake Charles, or if you get off the main road and head up to smaller towns like Eunice and Opelousas, the celebration of Mardi Gras is more of a family affair.

Tonight, the parish where I work is having a Mardi Gras celebration. They'll serve jambalaya (or so I'm told) and burn the palm branches from last year to make the ashes for tomorrow. I'm going to attempt to introduce a new custom of “burning the alleluias” like they do in some parts of Europe. Yes, I could have gone dancing tonight, but my back isn't doing too well.

Besides, I'd rather dance to these guys. Stay tuned for early spring when we publish -- "the lost interview."

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