Today is Mardi Gras, or “Fat Tuesday” if you translate it literally from French. While many Americans will be celebrating in New Orleans, millions around the world are celebrating in other February carnivals.
The word carnival originates from the latin / Italian carne levare – which literally means “remove meat”. During the 6 weeks of lent leading up to Easter, Christians abstained from rich foods, especially foods with meat. And so to “celebrate” the beginning of lent, all meats had to be consumed.
Which sounded like a good reason to get a party going. And thus today we have February carnivals from Venice, Italy, to New Orleans, to Rio de Janeiro.