Mardi-Gras – Fat or Shrove Tuesday – is a Christian celebration marking the last day of eating rich food, 47 days before Easter. Mardi-Gras’s date changes every year, as Easter isn’t either a set date.
The next day, le mercredi des Cendres – Ash Wednesday – is the beginning of lent, and Christians are not to eat meat or fish.
The term Mardi-Gras has come to indicate the whole Carnaval period of festivities around that Tuesday. Carnaval is big mainly in the South of France, particularly in Nice, French Riviera, where it’s said to have started in the XIII century. It lasts for 2 or 3 weeks and features many floats and ‘grosses têtes’ – big heads – parading day and night, mostly on la Promenade des Anglais and ends the last day with the burning of the effigy of Roi-Carnaval, the Carnaval king.
Au mardi-gras, l’hiver s’en va.
At Mardi-Gras, winter goes away.
Mardi-Gras ne t’en va pas, je fais des crêpes, je fais des crêpes. Mardi gras ne t’en va pas, je fais des crêpes et tu en auras.
Mardi-Gras don’t go away, I’m making crêpes, I’m making crêpes. Mardi-Gras don’t go away, I’m making crêpes and you’ll get some.
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Mardi Gras and the Carnival
Mardi Gras Vocabulary
m …. carnaval …. carnival
m …. carnavalier …. person involved with carnival, ‘carnivalor’
m …. char …. float
Carnaval à Dunkerque – Understand the video
There are three big carnivals for Mardi Gras in France: Nice, Bordeaux and Dunkerque. Let’s listen to this news story on that of Dunkirk today to learn French today.