Mardi Gras: Mardi Gras: Faith

French for "Fat Tuesday," Mardi Gras originated as a celebration of spring and evolved into an indulgent period often followed by fasting and sacrifice. It is an opportunity to have some Fun, Food, and Faith.
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  1. faith
    a strong belief in a divine power or powers
    The Rex Organization — the group founded in 1872 that’s also famous for starting the tradition of naming a parading Carnival King — claims credit for the purple, green and gold color scheme now associated with Mardi Gras. That was the color-scheme of their 1892 “Symbolism of Colors” parade, and the three shades are said to symbolize justice, faith and power, respectively. Time
  2. mystic
    relating to a belief in communion with an ultimate reality
    Meanwhile, Alabama news site reports that the Boeuf Gras Society, a mystic society started in Mobile in 1710, kicked off a 1711 parade down Dauphin Street with a giant bull’s head on wheels (the fatted bull was used in ancient Carnival celebrations in France).
  3. pagan
    relating to a polytheistic, pre-Christian religion
    Church reformers may have helped to propagate the pagan rumors, these experts say, in the hope of dissuading pre-Lenten hedonism.
  4. voodoo
    (Haiti) followers of a religion that involves witchcraft and animistic deities
    They worshiped everything living and everything dead, for voodoo embraces death as its company, not its enemy.The Poisonwood Bible
  5. phenomenon
    a remarkable person, thing, or development
    Mardi Gras is a Christian holiday and popular cultural phenomenon that dates back thousands of years to pagan spring and fertility rites.
  6. penance
    voluntary self-punishment in order to atone for something
    As a result, the excess and debauchery of the Mardi Gras season became a prelude to Lent, the 40 days of fasting and penance between Ash Wednesday and Easter Sunday.
  7. abstinence
    act or practice of refraining from indulging an appetite
    Shrove Tuesday derives from the Anglo-Saxon Christian practice of going to confession and being shriven, or absolved of sins before the 40-day fast leading up to Easter. It marked the final day to use up eggs and other fatty foods before abstinence, and pancakes were the perfect solution (hence the alternate holiday name). People
  8. shrive
    grant remission of a sin to
    Along the way, Shrove Tuesday emerged as the last day of Shrovetide, the week preceding the start of Lent. The word Shrovetide is the English equivalent of Carnival, which comes from the Latin words carnem levare, meaning “to take away the flesh.” “To shrive” means to hear confessions, according to Catholic theologian Father William P. Saunders.
  9. vow
    a solemn pledge to do something
    Then the effort to make good on that vow is what defines us as human beings.Sugar Changed the World: A Story of Magic, Spice, Slavery, Freedom, and Science
  10. custom
    a specific practice of long standing
    The blazing torches lighting the way for parade-goers during nighttime Mardi Gras festivities are called flambeaux (French for torch), and they date back to a custom established by the original Mardi Gras krewe, Comus. In the mid-19th century, the torches were a necessity due to the lack of sufficient street lighting.
  11. tradition
    a specific practice of long standing
    Mardi Gras is a tradition that dates back thousands of years to pagan celebrations of spring and fertility, including the raucous Roman festivals of Saturnalia and Lupercalia.
  12. ritual
    any customary observance or practice
    In the decades that followed, New Orleans and other French settlements began marking the holiday with street parties, masked balls and lavish dinners. When the Spanish took control of New Orleans, however, they abolished these rowdy rituals, and the bans remained in force until Louisiana became a U.S. state in 1812.
  13. culture
    a particular society at a particular time and place
    The cake has a trinket or baby figurine baked inside it to symbolize Christ and is eaten throughout Carnival festivities. Just as in Roman times, the person who finds the trinket is crowned king or queen of the Carnival, a distinction that carries various duties depending on the culture, from preparing tamales for the next family party to riding on a parade float.
  14. ultimate
    furthest or highest in degree or order; utmost or extreme
    Years later he would comment that both books struck him as religious, in the sense that the characters were searching for an ultimate power and a meaning to life.Mountains Beyond Mountains
  15. inspirational
    serving to uplift the mind, spirit, or creative powers
    We encounter many signs of “spirituality” among the owners—books like Ten Things I Learned about Life in My Garden and inspirational wall hangings urging centeredness.Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting By in America
  16. ghoulish
    suggesting the horror of death and decay
    In a separate chamber, they came upon a ghoulish spectacle: four monumental coffins, containing the skeletons of the 17th century Prussian king, Frederick the Great, Field Marshall von Hindenburg, and his wife. Salon
  17. legitimate
    based on known statements or events or conditions
    “Although Mobile’s Mardi Gras history is more complicated than one would think,” Walton says, “Mobile’s claim as the ‘Mother of the Mystics’ is legitimate.”
  18. authentic
    conforming to fact and therefore worthy of belief
    There’s power in allowing yourself to be known and heard, in owning your unique story, in using your authentic voice.Becoming
  19. trademark
    a distinctive characteristic or attribute
    Such cooperation was one of the important trademarks of Homo sapiens, and gave it a crucial edge over other human species.Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind
  20. populace
    people in general considered as a whole
    Besides this, at the appropriate times of the year he should keep the populace occupied with festivals and spectacles.The Prince
  21. kinship
    relatedness or connection by blood or marriage or adoption
    First, shared ideology or religion helps solve the problem of how unrelated individuals are to live together without killing each other—by providing them with a bond not based on kinship.Guns, Germs, and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies
  22. tolerant
    showing respect for the rights or opinions of others
    Would ancient Sapiens have been more tolerant towards an entirely different human species?Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind
  23. industrious
    characterized by hard work and perseverance
    Humankind paid for its lofty vision and industrious hands with backaches and stiff necks.Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind
  24. tenacious
    stubbornly unyielding
    Recalling the Mars Jars experiments, Vishniac believed that life was tenacious and that Antarctica was perfectly consistent with microbiology.Cosmos
  25. vigilant
    carefully observant or attentive
    I promised myself I would be more vigilant in taking measures to ensure my safety.Proud
  26. fervid
    characterized by intense emotion
    There was a fervid outbreak of new beliefs.The Heart is a Lonely Hunter
  27. zealous
    marked by active interest and enthusiasm
    There was no one more zealous; I gave my life to it; I served it with a passion.The Amber Spyglass
  28. yearning
    prolonged unfulfilled desire or need
    She could not make out the distinct syllables, but they made her heart ache, for they were all sounds of yearning—each being who cried out was crying out for freedom.Huntress
  29. anticipation
    something expected, as on the basis of a norm
    Traditionally, in the days leading up to Lent, merrymakers would binge on all the rich, fatty foods—meat, eggs, milk, lard and cheese—that remained in their homes, in anticipation of several weeks of eating only fish and different types of fasting.
  30. culminate
    end, especially to reach a final or climactic stage
    Masks and costumes have been associated with Shrove Tuesday celebrations for centuries. And even today of the masks commonly seen in New Orleans on Mardi Gras are the same types popularized by the two-to-three-week-long Carnivale in Venice that culminates with Fat Tuesday. Time
Created on January 25, 2023 (updated January 27, 2023)

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