At approximately 9:45p.m. on Tuesday Feb. 24, a small number of students gathered on the greens to celebrate Mardi Gras. The students dressed up in colorful clothing and picked up instruments and pots and pans in order to make their merriment known to the rest of the campus. The gallant Fat Tuesday advocates paraded scantily-clad around campus on the particularly cold night in outrageous outfits. With pride they reminded the campus for the next few hours that Mardi gras must not be forgotten.
Although the first documented parade in America occurred in 1837, the holiday’s recognition dates as far back as the year 1699 when the French explorer Sieur d’Iberville sailed into the Gulf of Mexico, from where he launched an expedition on the Mississippi River. As Mardi Gras was being celebrated as a national holiday in France already, on March 3 of 1699, Iberville had set up a camp on the west bank of the river about 60 miles south of where New Orleans is today. Iberville named the site Point du Mardi Gras.
Festivals centered on the same idea of carnival are still widely celebrated today around America. Fat Tuesday is so named because it falls right before Ash Wednesday, the last day before Lent which is a forty day fasting period observed by the Roman Catholic Church as well as various Christian denominations. Some of festivities that go hand in hand with the pagan holiday include wearing masks, dancing wildly around, drinking and feigning general madness for the duration of the night.
St. Mary’s didn’t celebrate Mardi Gras to the fullest on Feb. 24, however, the celebrations continued on Friday Feb. 27 with MardiGreens. Over 150 students crowded in on the greens to celebrate what a Facebook event started by some seniors called “a St. Mary’s tradition that should not be forgotten.” It was a particularly warm night and most students enjoyed being outside, even though the school-sponsored “NEST” occurred the same night in the nearby Daugherty
Palmer Commons building.