05 February 2008

Gordo Martes Gigante (Fat Gigantic Tuesday)

So today is Super Fucking Tuesday in New York. New York City will host a presidential primary on the same day it stages a ticker-tape parade for the Super Bowl-champion Giants. It is also Fat Tuesday 'round the globe, as in Mardi Gras, motherfucker! The final party of Carnival.

Mardi Gras (French for "Fat Tuesday") is the day before Ash Wednesday, and is also called "Shrove Tuesday" (The word shrove is a past tense of the English verb "shrive," which means to obtain absolution for one's sins by confessing and doing penance. Shrove Tuesday gets its name from the shriving (confession) that Anglo-Saxon Christians were expected to receive immediately before Lent). In the UK Mardi Gras is also known as "Pancake Day".

Mardi Gras is the final day of Carnival, which begins 12 days after Christmas, and ends on Mardi Gras, which always falls exactly 47 days before Easter and marks the beginning of Lent. Got that all down? It's basically a day for all your vices before you're supposed to give it all up for the good lord.

New Orleans, Venice and Rio are notorious for their over the top Mardi Gras celebrations. Carnival is an important celebration in most of Europe, except in the United Kingdom where pancakes are the tradition. Thus, "Pancake Day". But their pancakes are more like crêpes, k?

We were in São Paulo one year for Carnival and it was fucking insane! And even though São Paulo is the largest city in Brazil, São Paulo's Carnival is supposedly "less raucous" than Rio and Salvador, which is just frightening. They must be slitting throats and setting themselves on fire in Rio then because the pre-Carnival parties in the favellas were like slightly more organised than an actual riot. I just read that the Carnaval in Salvador apparently eclipses them all and is the biggest street party on the planet. It holds a Guiness record.

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