If you like dressing up, this subject is for you !
Between February and March, there falls a holiday that is much enjoyed bu French people.
It lets them parade around in costumes and eat different desserts.
This holiday has two names :
- Mardi Gras
Carnaval dates back to Ancient Rome when great festivals celebrated the renewal of nature. Afterward, the French population who were Christianized would continue to celebrate the end of winter with the holiday of Mardi Gars.
Mardi Gras is the beginning of the Easter season which is an essential time in the Christian calendar. It comes before Lent which is a forty-day fast in memory od Jesus’s retreat into the desert.
Lent begins on a Wednesday and the preceding Tuesday is “Mardi Gras” (Fat Tuesday) called such because it’s the last day you can eat any fat ! 🙂
Mardi Gras is an occasion for French people to dress themselves up.
The tradition goes back to the Middle Ages when costumes let people switch roles : poor people would dress as kings, men would dress like women and so on …
Today, all French children go to school dressed up on the day of Carnaval. Even some high school students show up in costumes !
And in different cities in France, parades with floats and costumed participants are organized.
Today, the most famous Carnaval in France is in the city of Nice and it has existed since the Middle Ages. The Carnaval in Nice takes place every winter int the month of February for two weeks.
The parade are made up of twenty floats. There is also a flower competition where floats of flowers compete to be the most beautiful.
They are decorated with fresh flowers picked up during the night. The following morning, the parade can begin, and costumed participants throw handfuls of flowers to the spectators.
For five centuries, the Carnaval in Paris was one of the biggest in the world. It stopped because of the war in 1914.
It ended up being forgotten. But in 1998, it started up again, and has been successful since.
Do you know what pastries French people make and eat for Carnaval ?
For Carnaval, French people make rich and sweet desserts. Traditionally, they would use their last eggs because the couldn’t be eaten during Lent.
Carnaval treats are therefore made from eggs, and include beignets, bugnes (sweet fritters) adn fritures (deep-fried treats).