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  1. Default Happy Fat Tuesday!

    If you've been waiting for a special occasion to open that last bottle of your best-ever batch, that time is NOW!

    Today is Fat Tuesday! Debauch! Revel!! Hedon!!!

    For those not "in the know," Fat Tuesday marks the last day of the Mardi Gras season, and as such, is known for being a day of excess and abandon.

    Everyone breach a bottle, and join me in a toast to the Roman Catholic Church in thanks for this, the most decadent of all celebrations!

    Wait... you didn't realize that the RCC started Mardi Gras? Well, pull up a barstool, mes bon amis, and let Professor Chim fill your minds with useless trivia while you fill your bellies with Bacchanalian cheer.

    Ash Wednesday (tomorrow) marks the beginning of Lent, the Catholic 40 day period of penance and self-deprivation that leads up to Easter. Way back when the RCC was king, Lent meant 40 days of fasting. You got 1 meal per day, and were forbidden meat, fish, eggs, or dairy. So, what did you do in the days leading up to Lent? You gorged yourself. And, most particularly on the last day, you stuffed yourself silly with the animal goodness that you wouldn't be tasting for the next 40 days. "Fat Tuesday" was a literal description.

    Somewhere around the 9th century, the fasting requirements began to relax, but the centuries-old tradition of gluttonous hedonism continued to gain in strength and popularity.

    Mardi Gras is celebrated under various names in pretty much every part of the world in which the RCC once held sway. Celebrations would be held, grand parties, maximizing the opportunities for pre-Lenten indulgences. The elaborate costumes and masks may have evolved as a way to conceal your identity from the omni-present eyes of the Church, so they wouldn't know just how depraved their flocks could be.

    While the RCC is pretty much out of the Mardi Gras business, there is still a power structure. Organizations known as krewes now control all "official" Mardi Gras activities, parties, balls and parades. Ostensibly charities, krewes range from loose associations of party animals to extremely elite and expensive social organizations. Much like the Free Masons or Knights of Columbus, little of a krewe's workings or activities are exposed to the public.

    Most of my own revelry tends towards a more friends-at-home vein, but being a Louisiana native, I never let the season pass unobserved. Here's the krewe of my youth.

    and one parting word, as you drain your glasses of goodwill...

    Lassaiz le bon temps roulez!

  2. Default Re: Happy Fat Tuesday!


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