Some things we take for granted. For example, it wasn’t until approximately a year ago that I realized that white perch wasn’t sold in grocery stores or fish markets—at least, not legally. And it wasn’t until a friend made a passing comment that alerted me to the fact. It wasn’t anything new, though. I simply had never taken the time to pay attention. Why? Because, whenever I wanted perch, we just fished it out of the bayou. I’d never attempted to purchase it, and never gave thought to it not being sold. After all, it’s not like there’s a shortage of white perch. Since I always had access to the fish, I assumed (and we all know what is said about assuming anything) that everyone had the same access. Wrong!
“Assuming” is the reason for this post. Yeah, I know white perch has nothing to do with Mardi Gras, but in the tangled convolutions of that thing I call a brain, I connected the two. See, growing up in South Louisiana, I assumed (once again) that everyone knew about Mardi Gras… That is, until I started hearing some strangeness that caused me to raise an eyebrow. I mean, South Louisiana isn’t the only place to celebrate Mardi Gras (which, by the way, most refer to as carnival). Yet, I’ve come to discover that there are many misconceptions about what Mardi Gras is and why it’s celebrated.
Now, I’ve tackled this subject before on my Creole Bayou blog, but since Mardi Gras season just kicked off on January 6, I thought it would be appropriate to do a brief refresher for those interested. If you’re interested in the importance of January 6, please visit my post, Is It Mardi Gras Yet? for a deep dive into it. This post will focus on an overview of the basics of Carnival. Let’s jump-start this with answer the question: What is Mardi Gras? To answer this question, I must explain the translation of the term Mardi Gras and define Carnival. Read the rest of this entry »