Joie de vivre*

Bon Mardi Gras, Mes Amis!

Laissez Les Bons Temps Rouler!

For those of you not in the know, what I’ve basically said is: “Happy Fat Tuesday, My Friends” and “Let The Good Times Roll”. Yes folks, today is Fat Tuesday, Mardi Gras, Martedi Grasso! Ash Wednesday, tomorrow, is the beginning of the Lenten season,  and for many signals a period of fasting or “going without”. While Lent is a religious “season” most associated with the Roman Catholic Church, many different religious have joined in. For many Fat Tuesday is the last day to eat (or drink) things that may be barred by the church or given up for the 40 days of Lent (Ash Wednesday to Easter). Often Mardi Gras is celebrated with excess (hence, FAT Tuesday) of food, drink, and general revelry. Many cities host parades, lift outdoor drinking bans, and decorate with the traditional colors (Green, Purple, and Gold). In honor of this day of celebratory excesses, how about a list of the places known for really getting into the spirit of Mardi Gras.

1. New Orleans, LA.  The largest U.S. celebration of Mardi Gras. The makers of bead necklaces love this place.

2. Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. THE largest carnival in the world. The city is overrun with over 2 million tourist each year. The samba is a favorite for parades.

3. Germany–seriously. All over Germany a variety of different celebrations are held, usually kicking off the Thursday before Ash Wednesday. In some cities a Prinz (prince), Jungfrau (virgin), and Bauer (farmer) are chosen. The Prinz leads the celebrations while the other two just the notoriety of the title. Fun Fact: The virgin is usually played by a beardless man.

4. St. Louis, MO. Yep, Missouri. STL makes the list for hosting the second largest Fat Tuesday celebration in the country. This is the 250th year of festivities in STL. The Soulard district is “ground zero”  for more than a month.

5. The Mississippi and Alabama Gulf Coast, U.S. The towns, cities, and villages that dot the Gulf Coast join in the fun, with most hosting parades and soirees in the days leading up to Ash Wednesday. Their celebrations tend to be more family friendly.

6. Venice, Italy. Italy is considered the birthplace of “carnival” celebrations and they still know what they’re doing. Venice is the place to be, where porcelain or glass masks are as “required” as plastic beads are in New Orleans.

7. Sydney, Aus. Mardi Gras in Sydney has become synonymous with Gay Pride. Parties for both take place more than a month before Fat Tuesday, but the BIG parade is usually the Saturday before (this year, it was March 1st). Plus, it’s summer there…yeah. Its Fabulous and there isn’t snow everywhere.

*Joy of living

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