By Joey Yazell–
On Tuesday February 12, 2013 UofL held its own celebration of “Fat Tuesday” Mardi Gras carnivals in the Bingham Humanities Quad. Students of all interests, and backgrounds came out to help celebrate this afternoon of events. Booths by cultural clubs and groups were set up around the quad to inform and talk about the different cultures and traditions involved. Some professors even offered extra credit for attending and participating in events. With over six different languages being spoken, food, laughter, music and culture, everyone seemed enlightened about this years “Carnival”. Masks were worn, beads were thrown, friends were made, and fun was asserted right here in the middle of U of L’s campus, thanks to all the groups and clubs from U of L and the community who helped commemorate the occasion.
“I hope that people will meet each other, and converse in other languages. Also, to learn a little bit about other cultures,” said Sarah Becker, a M.A. spanish instructor at U of L.
The event produced a large variety of fresh, native dishes and a diverse group of cultural festivities and performances. “The Mexican Hat Dance,” among many of Tuesday’s events, was authentic and true, as well as piano playing singers of Italy and Portugal who sang traditional songs folk songs in celebration.
“My favorite thing here is the food. Tom Dumsdorf hands out free Blini and Tea every year at the Russian table; I love it!” said senior Bryan Napier.
For some it is a social activity, others a religious holiday, but for those who may be unfamiliar with this event, Mardi Gras is intertwined with Christian and Catholic religions around the world. Meaning, “Fat Tuesday” is the last time to eat rich foods before the start of a 40 day fast beginning on Ash Wednesday. Mardi Gras has become a large scale cultural event that has received attention all over the map, but is most famous in New Orleans, Brazil and Venice. Parades, masks, costumes, and rich foods are among the physical features at these events. The religious aspect runs deeper, though, concentrated in heavy Roman Catholic cultures around the world, this is an important holiday of penance, fasting, and preparation of Jesus’s resurrection. It gives everyone a last feast before the season of fasting leading to Easter Sunday. This fast is called Lent. Lent is the 40 days preceding up to Easter Sunday. In today’s catholic society, many people sacrafice a food or activity along with not eating meat. There is an exception with having fish on Fridays though. You may have seen many students walking around campus the day after Mardi Gras with a cross consisting of ash on their foreheads. This is called Ash Wednesday. Marking the beginning of the Lenten season.
Photo by Tricia Stern/The Louisville Cardinal