The French word for “Fat Tuesday” is Mardi Gras. Its origin dates back to medieval times in Europe, a Christian holiday with roots in ancient Rome. Actors of ancient Greek theater wore masks to exaggerate emotions. Many cultures created and buried death masks for prominent people of ancient Egypt.
The Romans celebrated wild festivals of Saturnalia, honoring the deity of Saturn; Lupercalia, Roman mythology, was also celebrated, as the God of shepherds, for the founding of his temple. These festivals were incorporated by religious leaders into the new faith. Eventually, the celebrations spread from Rome across Europe and landed in the colonies of the New World.
The Mardi Gras mask dates back over hundreds of years ago. It was an integral part of the festival for mask wearers to escape class restraint and social demands, giving the opportunity to mingle with all classes and be whomever they desired.
In 1872, “Krews,” elite social clubs, determined the parades for Mardi Gras in New Orleans. As a “Krew,” it was required by law to wear a mask on the floats. By 1875, the state of Louisiana declared Mardi Gras a legal holiday.
I choose the Mardi Gras mask for this issue, namely because Mardi Gras is this month. I am also an admirer of traditions. Traditions give us a sense of who we are and where we came from, a legacy. And lastly, the colors used in the Mardi Gras mask, actually have a meaning.
The purple symbolizes justice.
The green symbolizes faith.
The gold symbolizes power.
How we interpret justice, faith and power in our lives belong to you. How we carry out justice, faith and power may define you. Regardless, mask or no mask, celebrate and enjoy your traditions, for they are the stories of your life.