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"Mardi Gras" is just a French phrase that means "Martedi Grosso" in Italian. That's too bad, because it comes out "Fat Tuesday" any you look at it.
Its a movable holiday, because it depends on the of Easter each year. Just why, beats everybody except these people who like to keep up on sort of stuff. This year it happens to fall on the day before Washington's Birthday. People who know say there is no connection between the holidays.
In Scotland and England the Mardi Gras is called Shrove Tuesday, and the natives of these places celebrate it by playing football in the streets. In Cambridge, Massachusetts, football is hardly over played, and especially not in the streets on Shrove Tuesday.
Down in New Orleans the people stop listening to jazz about this time, and begin enjoying the last Carnival Day before Lent. They do this chiefly by dressing up as people they couldn't possibly be.
Some make believe they are Napoleon, and some Satan. Other favorite characters are Robespierre, Perseus and Audromeda, and Pelion and Ossa. Sometimes men dress up as women and vice versa. Mardi Gras historians are still chuckling over the time a man won first prize for the "Most beautifully dressed lady."
The Mardi Gras was brought over from France in 1827 by a group of Paris-educated New Orleans men who put on costumes and started street processions. Since then the idea has mushroomed all over the country, and everybody seems pretty happy about it. Especially the theatrical costumers.
As for Washington's birthday it is named in honor of George Washington, a local eighteenth century hero, who gained fame by putting up for the night in Massachusetts Hall.
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