Today is Tuesday, February 28th, 2006; Karen's Korner #747

Today is Mardi Gras, translated "fat Tuesday" in French. It is celebrated in some cities and by some people, but we hear of it most often in New Orleans.
Because Jim has a cousin who lives in New Orleans and because we visited there in 1990, we brought beads, cups, coins, and recipes home with us from that trip with a charge, "Why don't you have a Mardi Gras party at your house?" 
Which we did and do and have since then. Tonight is the night at the Weld's home! Each year we invite different groups of people in to eat the four-course meal, which I cook. Jim and I feast with ten other people. Once you are invited and attend, you can't come again! This is party #17!!
Whatever you know about Mardi Gras, did you know it started as a Christian tradition??
It goes back to a more primitive time when people celebrated the coming of spring and new life. The season begins on the Twelfth Night of Christmas or January 6th, known as Epiphany. Christians observe  Epiphany as the day the Three Wise Men found the infant Jesus and it is celebrated as a holy day.
Mardi Gras, celebrated the day before Ash Wednesday and the beginning of Lent, tends to be a Catholic custom. The celebration arose from the custom of parading a fat ox through the streets of Paris. French colonists introduced Mardi Gras into America in 1766. The custom became popular in New Orleans and spread throughout the southern states. When Alexis Romanoff of Russian royalty visited Mardi Gras in 1872, the celebration took they royal colors of gold, green, and purple which signifies justice, faith, and power respectively.
Like any holiday or tradition, whether Mardi Gras is a time for fellowship and celebration or selfish and self-centeredness, it is up to each of us and how we reflect on it.