Mardi Gras: More than just beads, food and drinks

Mardi Gras was celebrated this past Tuesday, Feb. 17. This is a significant event in many parts of the United States where there is a significant French influence, like in New Orleans.
There is a plethora of events happening during this celebration, which include parades, parties and food.
Traditionally, Mardi Gras originated as a religious ritual in which people would feast and eat everything they wanted before the Lenten fast began on Ash Wednesday. That is why the event is called Mardi Gras, French for Fat Tuesday.
However, today, this event has become a pagan tradition and has lost its religious side. Plenty do not even know that it is a religious practice, most just see it as a reason to celebrate, eat, drink and enjoy events being held in different places around the country and the world.
I was not aware of the religious tradition behind Mardi Gras, possibly because this event, just like Christmas or Valentine’s Day, has been commercialized.
When someone mentions Christmas, we generally think about gifts and Santa Claus; Valentine’s Day, roses and chocolates; Mardi Gras, beads and parties. It is interesting to see how we are now forgetting about the original meaning of these and other holidays that also started with religion.
We are allowing the media to take control by giving us a standard on how to celebrate these events.
I am not saying this is the case for every person around the world; however, it is necessary to acknowledge that events that were once designed for religious purposes are now becoming pagan and a source of profit for businesses.
Even though there is a lot of fun behind the commercialized version of these holidays, we should not let the media distort these festivities and their roots for us.
I do not think it is a bad idea to celebrate these holidays in any way we want to, but I do believe it would be better if we did so and also knew the reason behind its beginning.
Learning about traditions that have survived throughout history is very captivating because they show us a little bit of the past while we live it in the present.
Besides, these holidays have been capable of bringing us together as a community and creating a bridge between culture gaps.
So despite the fact that some of Mardi Gras’s original purpose has been lost, it is a good idea to be familiar with its foundation and not allow the media to tell us how to celebrate it.