MARCH 5, 2019 | FAT TUESDAY | NATIONAL CHEESE DOODLE DAY | NATIONAL ABSINTHE DAY | NATIONAL MULTIPLE PERSONALITY DAY
The last day of Carnival and the day before for Ash Wednesday, Fat Tuesday is the intertwining of a period festivals and feasts that lead to a time of fasting and reflection. Also known as Shrove Tuesday and Mardi Gras, this enduring celebration has many traditions and deep roots around the world.
Mardi Gras (French for Fat Tuesday) dates back to an ancient Roman festival honoring the deities Lupercalia and Saturnalia which took place in mid-February. When Christians arrived in Rome, they incorporated the festival into Lenten preparations.
For centuries, this solemn feast prepared Christians for the season of Lent and used up valuable meat and supplies they would be abstaining from in the days to come. Traditions surrounding the day have changed through the ages. Through time and culture, the practices of Lent and Carnival, Mardi Gras, and Shrove Tuesday have varied and become incorporated into regional customs.
In the United Kingdom, Shrove Tuesday is also known as Pancake Day. Pancakes are the perfect menu item when the future includes abstaining from fats, eggs, and sweets! In Russia, they celebrate the entire week during Shrovetide as Pancake Week.
While the French didn’t originate the medieval feast, they did put their stamp on it. From parades to beignets and colorful masks, the last day of Carnival is full of elaborate costumes and lavish food sure to hold the revelers over through a long fast. During the 16th century, their ancestors celebrated Boeuf Gras (fatted calf) which included a tradition of parading a bull decorated with flowers through the city. The decorated animal is followed through the streets by a retinue of colorfully dressed attendants and bands playing unusual instruments. There was even a Boeuf Gras Society in Mobile, Alabama at one time. (See history below for more information.)
New Orleans holds the crown for Carnival and Mardi Gras celebrations in the United States. While the city is filled with French flavor and style, its culture is an eclectic infusion of many cultures. Colorful King Cake and thick, savory muffuletta sandwiches only suggest the indulgence possible on Fat Tuesday. Regional specialties like Etouffee, Po’boys, and jambalaya all add to the atmosphere of the day.
And while we satisfy our cravings, let’s not forget our beverages. Signature creations from New Orleans hit the spot. Be sure to try the Sazerac made with absinthe or the citrus cocktail Arnaud’s Special. For a smooth drink with some punch mix up a Vieux Carré made with whiskey, cognac, and sweet vermouth. But you don’t have to have a cocktail to enjoy the feast! Fat Tuesday has plenty of beverages full of refreshing flavor. Coffees, sodas, and shakes of every flavor can be found.
HOW TO OBSERVE
Join in festivals around the country or have your own Fat Tuesday feast! Share your favorite traditions by using #FatTuesday, #MardiGras, #ShroveTuesday
The roots of the celebration have been woven together for centuries from medieval spring festivals and feasts that were based on the Christian calendar. Fat Tuesday is celebrated around the world in its various forms all of which harken back to these roots of spring festivals and religious fasting in preparation for the Holy day of Easter.
Credit for bringing Mardi Gras to America goes to French explorers Pierre Le Moyne Sieur d’Iberville and Jean Baptiste Le Moyne Sieur de Bienville. In 1699, d’Iberville reached the mouth of the river on Shrove Tuesday near what is now Louisiana and named it Pointe du Mardi Gras.
Thanks to their establishment of Fort Louis de la Mobile, modern-day Mobile, Alabama lays claim to the first Mardi Gras celebration on American soil in 1703.
When de Bienville established Nouvelle Orleans in 1788, Mardi Gras celebrations reportedly began immediately. In 1875, Louisiana declared Fat Tuesday an official holiday.
NATIONAL CHEESE DOODLE DAY
Are you ready for a great snack and orange fingers? Happy National Cheese Doodle Day! March 5th is the annual celebration for the cheddar cheese coated, puffed or crunchy, fried or baked snack food.
The actual inventor of Cheese Doodles is under debate.
Generally, the credit goes to a man named Morrie Yohai who made a variety of extruded snack foods in the 1940s for his family’s company called Old London Foods. Other sources show patents for similar products in the 1930s and still other competing accounts in Wisconsin and in New Orleans as well.
However they came to be, they are here. Their crunchy, orange deliciousness is enjoyed around the world! They come in a variety of shapes, sizes and flavors and 15 million pounds are produced annually.
HOW TO OBSERVE
Grab a bag (or tub) of cheese doodles and use #NationalCheeseDoodleDay to post on social media.
Within our research, we were unable to identify the creator of National Cheese Doodle Day.
NATIONAL ABSINTHE DAY
March 5th is also known as National Absinthe Day. This day is for those who are 21 years or older to celebrate a drink called absinthe.
Often mistaken for a liqueur, it is truly a spirit because it isn’t sweetened. It belongs with the vodkas, gins and whiskeys when categorizing absinthe.
The spirit is made by infusing wormwood, fennel, anise and other herbs into alcohol through distillation. The creation of absinthe is credited to Pierre Ordinaire, a French doctor. He developed and prescribed the elixir in the early 19th century as a cure for many illnesses.
It has a strong licorice flavor to it and has a high alcohol content. It is often served with ice, a sugar cube placed on a slotted spoon over the glass and water poured over the sugar.
Also known as The Green Fairy, The Green Goddess or The Green Lady, the drink was popular with artists and writers. It was rumored to have hallucinogenic effects. Just as it was gaining in popularity, as the century was coming to a close, its reputation took some severe blows.
The Green Lady was blamed for causing madness, seizures and low morality, among other ills of society. One of the final blows was a scandal in 1905 involving a French laborer who had spent the day drinking. His drink of choice was absinthe. He later murdered his children and pregnant wife.
The drink was banned in France and other countries soon followed. In the United States and around the world the ban has since been lifted.
Studies have proven there is nothing hallucinogenic about the drink. Absinthe does have a higher alcohol content than other spirits, so keeping that in mind is important to drink responsibly.
HOW TO OBSERVE
Have some absinthe (Remember always to drink responsibly and never to drink and drive) and use #NationalAbsintheDay to post on social media.
Why March 5th? It’s a nod to Pernod, and the day the approval of their final label for Pernod Fils Absinthe became official in 2013.
NATIONAL MULTIPLE PERSONALITY DAY
National Multiple Personality Day is observed annually on March 5th.
After much research, we have found that it is looked at in two different ways:
Some people look at National Multiple Personality Day as a day to look at yourself and connect with who you are. It is a day for exploring your personality traits and examining the roots of those traits. Each one of us shows a different side of our characters at different times and in different places. Sometimes our personalities appear to be altered, depending on whom we are with and what we are doing. With these things in mind, National Multiple Personality Day is a day to focus your thoughts on yourself and your personality.
The other set believes it may be that National Multiple Personality Day is a day to raise awareness for this disorder. Multiple Personality Disorder, also known as Dissociative Identity Disorder, is a disorder characterized by at least two distinct and relatively enduring identities or dissociated personality states that alternately control a person’s behavior. It is accompanied by memory impairment for important information not explained by ordinary forgetfulness.
You may know someone, maybe a friend or family member, who has been diagnosed with Multiple Personality Disorder. If so, spend some extra time with them on National Multiple Personality Day.
HOW TO OBSERVE
Use #MultiplePersonalityDay to post on social media.
Within our research, we were unable to identify the creator of National Multiple Personality Day.
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