What is Mardi Gras?

Literally translated as “Fat Tuesday,” Mardi Gras is a celebration that takes place the Tuesday before Ash Wednesday. The idea is that people pig out on the foods that they are going to restrict themselves from during the Lenten fast. In some ways it’s akin to storing up for the long haul, like a bear that goes into hibernation. In this case however, it’s a mostly cultural phenomenon that gives people an excuse to party and to participate in debauchery.

Other countries often have similar celebrations called “Carnivale” which is translated “without meat” and thus provides people the opportunity once again to eat much before depriving themselves of meat for the Lenten season.

Mike Hayes is the Director of Young Adult Ministry in the Diocese of Cleveland and the host of 5 Questions with the Paulists. Mike is one of the founders of Busted Halo and has worked with young adults his entire ministry career in retreat, spiritual direction, and campus Ministry. He’s the author of "Googling God" (Paulist, 2007) and "Loving Work" (Orbis, 2012). Mike and his wife Marion live in Lakewood, OH with their dog, Haze.