Origin of Mardi Gras
The day is so named from the French custom of parading a fat ox ( bœuf gras ) during the celebration of the holiday (one wonders what became of the ox). French Mardi comes from the Latin phrase Martis diēs “Mars’s day,” so named after Mars, the planet and deity of the third day of the week according to Hellenistic astrology. Gras is problematical: it ultimately derives from Latin crassus “thick, stout, plump,” and one would therefore expect cras, but French has gras, Italian grasso, Spanish and Portuguese graso, all showing g-, not c-.
Examples from the Web for mardi gras
Then another entertainment, a sort of mardi-gras maigre feast, was a champagne tea given for us at the Capitol by Mr. Blaine.The Sunny Side of Diplomatic Life, 1875-1912|Lillie DeHegermann-Lindencrone
My daughter is sending down a counterpart of her own wedding-dress for your bride of the Mardi-Gras.'The Chaplet of Pearls|Charlotte M. Yonge
The Mardi-Gras dance had been like a hideous dream to Rachael.The Heart of Rachael|Kathleen Norris
British Dictionary definitions for mardi gras
Word Origin for Mardi Gras
Culture definitions for mardi gras
An annual festival held in France on the day before Ash Wednesday, the first day of Lent. Mardi Gras is French for “Fat Tuesday” — meaning it is the last opportunity to eat rich food before the fast of Lent begins. It is related to celebrations elsewhere, called “carnivals,” from the Latin words carne and vale, “meat” and “farewell,” meaning a farewell to meat before the abstinence of Lent.