Mardi Gras is February 28th this year, so let the celebrations begin. Mardi Gras is known in some countries as Carnivale, and it is a day to celebrate with costumes, eating an abundance of food, and parading. All of this celebration is because of the upcoming Lent, a holiday in which people give up certain luxuries like sweets or specialties. Mardi Gras is always the Tuesday before Ash Wednesday, which is the beginning of Lent. Cities around the globe associate certain foods with their Mardi Gras celebrations.
King Cake in New Orleans
The birthplace of Mardi Gras, New Orleans has created and maintained the tradition of baking a king’s cake for the annual celebration. The cake is a hollow, round shape, with the colors of Mardi Gras usually in sprinkles or icing (purple, gold, and green). Inside the cake is a hidden baby figurine. Whoever gets the piece of the cake with the figurine will have special privileges. The colors of Mardi Gras also have symbolisms; purple represents justice, green represents faith, and gold represents power.
Feijoada in Brazil
In Brazil, Mardi Gras is called Carnivale, and is just as extravagant as the original celebration in Louisiana. Instead of baking king’s cake, Brazilians make a dish called feijoada. A stew made with black beans and tender meat, feijoada is a staple in many Brazilian households. It’s a dish that brings many people together, much like the celebration of Carnivale.
Packzi in Chicago
Packzi (misleadingly pronounced ‘poonch-kee’) are Polish doughnuts filled with jelly or cream. In Chicago, Mardi Gras is also Packzi Day. There were many Polish people that lived in the city of Chicago, which is where the influence on packzi comes into play.