Happy Fat Tuesday: Celebrate & Learn About the Cultural Roots of Mardi Gras

Happy Fat Tuesday!

It may be business as usual here in New England, but way down south in New Orleans they are having a huge party! Mardi Gras (French for Fat Tuesday) has arrived, and the whole city is celebrating! The traditions of Mardi Gras take all forms, and encompass everything from cake to sequins in an all-out celebration of local culture.

Mardi Gras’ roots lie in Catholicism, as the day after Mardi Gras- Ash Wednesday – begins the season of Lent, wherein members of the church give up certain indulgences until Easter Sunday. In order to prepare for Lent, New Orleanians celebrate like mad and spend a day truly enjoying all of the good things in life. Mardi Gras is perhaps best known for its parades filled with outrageous floats, unbelievable costumes, and lavish decorations and embellishments. In addition to these events, Mardi Gras brings together beignets and King Cake, Cajun and Zydeco music, Native American traditions, and thousands of strings of beads to create one of the most fascinating celebrations in America. Click here for online resources…

Three King’s Day Offers Multi-Cultural Learning

Three King’s Day Offers Multi-Cultural Learning

Traditionally, a King’s Cake is eaten on El Dia de Reyes – a sweet ring of bread dotted with fruits and containing a small baby figurine inside. Called Rosca de Reyes in Spanish, the cake is similar to the King Cakes enjoyed during Mardi Gras in the southern United States.

In the United States, Christmas is celebrated on December 25th, bringing with it gifts for everyone! In some cultures, however, gifts aren’t given to children until January 6th, the date on which Three King’s Day is celebrated. A major holiday in Spanish-speaking cultures, Three King’s Day (or El Dia de Reyes) is the celebration of the arrival of the biblical kings to Jerusalem – bringing with them gifts for the newly-born baby Jesus. According to the Christian calendar, January 6th is the Epiphany and, coincidentally, it is also the twelfth day of Christmas. In Spain, Mexico, Puerto Rico, and many other countries (as well as in some communities here in western Massachusetts), children receive their Christmas gifts on Three King’s Day, just as Jesus received gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh on that date in the Bible. Read the rest of this entry »

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