What Does "Mardi Gras" Mean?

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In French, the word "Mardi" means "Tuesday," and the word "gras" means "fat," meaning that Mardi Gras translates to English as "Fat Tuesday." The name comes from the practice of preparing for the start of a period of fasting on Ash Wednesday, which immediately follows Mardi Gras. This preparation may involve eating rich foods and using up ingredients like fat, eggs and dairy, which may not be allowed during Lent.

Foods traditionally associated with this holiday include pancakes, pastries and other sweet treats made using the above-mentioned ingredients. The "fat" in Fat Tuesday can refer to the ingredients and to the practice of indulging in tasty foods.