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Happy Mardi Gras! (questions for Catholics)

is Mardi Gras a set Catholic tradition or is it more a cultural party? does it bother you that some non-Catholics celebrate just the party, but not the restrictive practices (Lent)? does anything go for Mardi Gras (like getting drunk) and how do you celebrate?


Asked by okmanders at 9:59 AM on Feb. 16, 2010 in Religion & Beliefs

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Answers (7)
  • Actually Mardi Gras has Pagan roots as well as Catholic. It was tied in with several ancient festivals or carnivals . In the Middle Ages, the early church couldn't completely get rid of these practices, so Mardi Gras was created out of these festivals as a way to convert pagans, and still let them keep their celebrations. It was created to be a time of merriment before the sacrifice of Lent. Interestingly, the god of wine is still portrayed on floats, even today. So, Mardi Gras is a basically Catholic/cultural thing, and many Catholic countries have celebrated it (or similar festivals). But like many other celebrations, it has become secularized over time. If other people want to join the festivities, I think that's fine. Most Catholics tend to have their own type of Mardi Gras, even if it's not the drunken party type thing. I know I tend to eat more right before Lent. It's almost a subconscious thing now.

    Answer by anime_mom619 at 11:40 AM on Feb. 16, 2010

  • Laissez les bon temps roule!!!

    Answer by MamaK88 at 11:01 AM on Feb. 16, 2010

  • We live on the Gulf Coast and I'm going to tell you there is nothing about God written on the side of floats as they go by. We are there for the party and nothing else. Its just an excuse to go crazy. The kids and I will be at the Biloxi parade this afternoon, and the hubby and I will be at the Gulfport parade tonight.

    Answer by Christina2135 at 10:03 AM on Feb. 16, 2010

  • I was born and raised in the Catholic church and dont really recall Mardi Gras being a Catholic thing,although it has its roots in the religion. Lent has long been considered the last party before you go into Lent. During Lent you give up one thing (normally). For instance I know many who use it to quit smoking, drinking and to try and kick other bad habits like cussing. I dont think anything is wrong with others joining in the party. There is room for everyone.

    Answer by Anonymous at 10:06 AM on Feb. 16, 2010

  • Some Catholics (those in the Eastern Rites) actually started the Great Lent yesterday on Clean Monday. Latin Rite Catholics start Ash Wednesday. "Fat Tuesday" or "Shrove Tuesday" is about preparing for Lent, using up the meat, eggs, rich foods before entering the period of penance. Mardi Gras is a much more secularized (and exaggerated) celebration of the idea. Like people celebrate St. Patrick's Day or even Christias in non-relgious ways, people do that with Mardi Gras. Personally, I don't celebrate Mardi Gras other than planning for fasting and abstaining from meat tomorrow - so we'll he leftovers for dinner tonight to clean out the fridge.

    Answer by eringobrough at 11:23 AM on Feb. 16, 2010

  • It's both Cultural and Catholic, so not all Catholics celebrate. Mainly the French, I think. I love it when ANYONE celebrates! There are no litmus tests for celebration!

    Answer by Anonymous at 11:33 AM on Feb. 16, 2010

  • thanks Erin! i know id want to get rid of all the "good stuff" instead of just throwing it away. i can see how thats turned into a huge party.

    we went to clean Mardi Gras in Lafayette, LA last year and i wasnt sure if it was really Catholic or just good fun. i will say the feeling in the air sure changes from Fat Tuesday to Ash Wednesday!

    Answer by okmanders at 11:46 AM on Feb. 16, 2010