The last day of Carnival and the day before for Ash Wednesday, Fat Tuesday is the intertwining of a period festivals and feasts that lead to a time of fasting and reflection. Also known as Shrove Tuesday and Mardi Gras, this enduring celebration has many traditions and deep roots around the world.
Mardi Gras (French for Fat Tuesday) dates back to an ancient Roman festival honoring the deities Lupercalia and Saturnalia which took place in mid-February. When Christians arrived in Rome, they incorporated the festival into Lenten preparations.
For centuries, this solemn feast prepared Christians for the season of Lent and used up valuable meat and supplies they would be abstaining from in the days to come. Traditions surrounding the day have changed through the ages. Through time and culture, the practices of Lent and Carnival, Mardi Gras, and Shrove Tuesday have varied and become incorporated into regional customs.
In the United Kingdom, Shrove Tuesday is also known as Pancake Day. Pancakes are the perfect menu item when the future includes abstaining from fats, eggs, and sweets! In Russia, they celebrate the entire week during Shrovetide as Pancake Week.
Carnival & Mardi Gras
While the French didn’t originate the medieval feast, they did put their stamp on it. From parades to beignets and colorful masks, the last day of Carnival is full of elaborate costumes and lavish food sure to hold the revelers over through a long fast. During the 16th century, their ancestors celebrated Boeuf Gras (fatted calf) which included a tradition of parading a bull decorated with flowers through the city. The decorated animal is followed through the streets by a retinue of colorfully dressed attendants and bands playing unusual instruments. There was even a Boeuf Gras Society in Mobile, Alabama at one time. (See history below for more information.)
New Orleans holds the crown for Carnival and Mardi Gras celebrations in the United States. While the city is filled with French flavor and style, its culture is an eclectic infusion of many cultures. Colorful King Cake and thick, savory muffuletta sandwiches only suggest the indulgence possible on Fat Tuesday. Regional specialties like Etouffee, Po’boys, and jambalaya all add to the atmosphere of the day.
And while we satisfy our cravings, let’s not forget our beverages. Signature creations from New Orleans hit the spot. Be sure to try the Sazerac made with absinthe or the citrus cocktail Arnaud’s Special. For a smooth drink with some punch mix up a Vieux Carré made with whiskey, cognac, and sweet vermouth. But you don’t have to have a cocktail to enjoy the feast! Fat Tuesday has plenty of beverages full of refreshing flavor. Coffees, sodas, and shakes of every flavor can be found.
HOW TO OBSERVE #FatTuesday
Join in festivals around the country or have your own Fat Tuesday feast! Share your favorite traditions by using #FatTuesday, #MardiGras, #ShroveTuesday
In Pensacola as we are so close to both Mobile, AL and New Orleans, there are lots of pardades, parties, balls, and more. Get ready for beads, dancing, and King Cake.
At the end of the fun try coming home to my Crockpot New England Calm Chowder. As today this dish is celebrated nationwide today too.
FAT TUESDAY HISTORY
The roots of the celebration have been woven together for centuries from medieval spring festivals and feasts that were based on the Christian calendar. Fat Tuesday is celebrated around the world in its various forms all of which harken back to these roots of spring festivals and religious fasting in preparation for the Holy day of Easter.
Credit for bringing Mardi Gras to America goes to French explorers Pierre Le Moyne Sieur d’Iberville and Jean Baptiste Le Moyne Sieur de Bienville. In 1699, d’Iberville reached the mouth of the river on Shrove Tuesday near what is now Louisiana and named it Pointe du Mardi Gras.
Thanks to their establishment of Fort Louis de la Mobile, modern-day Mobile, Alabama lays claim to the first Mardi Gras celebration on American soil in 1703.
When de Bienville established Nouvelle Orleans in 1788, Mardi Gras celebrations reportedly began immediately. In 1875, Louisiana declared Fat Tuesday an official holiday
Observed each year on February 14th, National Donor Day (also known as National Organ Donor Day) is a day to increase awareness about organ donation and the lives that can be saved. In the United States, more than 120,000 people are waiting for a life-saving organ donation.
Give the gift of Life.
The observance focuses on five different types of donations: Organs – Tissues – Marrow – Platelets – Blood. Many nonprofit health organizations sponsor blood and marrow drives and organ/tissue sign-ups across the nation. Approximately every two seconds, there is someone in the U.S. who needs blood, which translates to the need for over 41,000 daily donations.
Each type of donation saves lives. While blood, platelets, tissue, marrow, and some organs may be donated at any time, most organs are donated upon death. A single donor can save up to 8 lives and help more than 75 people.
Some blood donors have been making donations as young as the age of 17. They can donate a pint of blood every 53 days. One pint of blood can save up to three people. If you’ve never thought about donation, you’re of the 17 percent of non-donors. However, only 37 percent of the population of the United States is eligible to donate blood.
HOW TO OBSERVE #NationalDonorDay
If you’ve received the gift of an organ, tissue, marrow, platelets or blood, share your story. Several year’s ago blood transfusions saved my life. I wish I could donate.
Use #NationalDonorDay to post on social media.
NATIONAL DONOR DAY HISTORY
National Donor Day was started in 1998 by the Saturn Corporation and its United Auto Workers partners, with the support of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and many nonprofit health organizations.
Devoted to instilling a lifelong love of reading in children and providing access to books for children in need, Book Giving Day calls on volunteers to share their favourite book with a young reader. Although the holiday originated in the UK, book lovers around the world now join in the celebrations every year.
Book Giving Day has few organised events. Instead, individual volunteers are encouraged to give a favourite book or books to children. This can take many forms; some people give books as gifts to their own children or to those of friends. Others donate books to children’s libraries, schools or charities. Still others leave books in places where they’ll be found, such as doctors’ waiting rooms or coach stations.
The organisers of Book Giving Day support the holiday by sharing participants’ stories and offering bonuses such as downloadable holiday bookplates to use in gifts.
Support These Literacy Organisations
Thursday, February 13, 2020
Big hearts give big on National Giving Hearts Day! On the second Thursday in February each year, the celebration offers one of the best opportunities to donate to your favorite charity. Not only that, this is the longest-running giving day in the United States. So many hearts and so much to give!
In a single 24 hour period, more funds are raised for charities throughout the upper Midwest. Organizations like soup kitchens, medical foundations, STEM programs, arts programs, and so many more raise money to advance their missions. And the money goes directly to the charities YOU love the most. Plus, you can give to as many charities you want. Give to one, or give to several.
In 2020, Giving Hearts Day celebrates its 13th year.
More than 28,000 people donated in 2019.
Since 2008, tens of thousands of generous donors gave more than $70 million.
In 2019, more than $13 million was donated.
The average donor gave to 2.3 charities in 2019.
Whether you’re a donor or a charity, get involved. Rally your organization and provide support to your favorite charity. And it doesn’t matter where you are on the planet. You can still give.
HOW TO OBSERVE ON #GivingHeartsDay
Visit the GivingHeartsDay.org website to find your charity. Spread the word. And on the big day, donate to your favorite charity. It’s the best way to show your support and how giving your heart is. The minimum donation is $10, but how much is that really? Two cups of coffee?
Use #GivingHeartsDay to share the day on social media, too.
NATIONAL GIVING HEARTS DAY HISTORY
Fargo, North Dakota-based Impact Foundation submitted National Giving Hearts Day in 2019 to celebrate the 24-hour giving event for charities across North Dakota and northwestern Minnesota. Giving Hearts Day was formed in 2008 by Dakota Medical Foundation (DMF) and Impact Foundation as a way for people to support the charities and causes they love. From just under $500,000 raised in its first year to more than $13 million raised in 2019, it has become a day of exceptional impact. The registrar at National Day Calendar® proclaimed National Giving Hearts Day to be observed on the second Thursday in February, annually.
- Avalokitesvara Trust (India)
- Book Aid International (international)
- Books for Africa (international)
- Duffy Books in Homes (NZ)
- First Book (US)
- Give a Book (UK)
- Indigenous Literacy Foundation (AU)
- Nal’ibali (South Africa)
- Pratham Books (India)
- Reach Out and Read (US)
- Read For Good (UK)
- Reading is Fundamental (US)
- Room to Read (international)