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Shrove Tuesday, Lent, Ash Wednesday, Carnival


February 17, 2023

 Mardi Gras, Carnival, Shrove Tuesday, and Ash Wednesday are all important cultural and religious events that are celebrated around the world. These festivals have a rich history and cultural significance and are celebrated in different ways by different communities. 

Mardi Gras, also known as Fat Tuesday, is a carnival celebration that takes place in many parts of the world, but is most closely associated with the city of New Orleans in the United States. The festival is known for its colorful parades, elaborate costumes, and lively music, and is celebrated on the Tuesday before Ash Wednesday. Mardi Gras is a time to indulge in rich foods and pleasures before the fasting and penitence of the Lenten season. 

Carnival is another festival that is closely related to Mardi Gras. It is a pre-Lenten festival that is celebrated in many parts of the world, including Brazil, Italy, and Spain. Like Mardi Gras, Carnival is a time for revelry and celebration before the start of the Lenten season. 

Shrove Tuesday is the day before Ash Wednesday and is also known as Pancake Day in some countries. It is a day of preparation for the Lenten season and is traditionally a time to confess one's sins and receive absolution. In some countries, Shrove Tuesday is celebrated with the eating of pancakes, which symbolize the rich foods that will be given up during the Lenten season. 

Ash Wednesday marks the beginning of the Lenten season and is a day of fasting and repentance for Christians around the world. It is a time to reflect on one's sins and to seek forgiveness, as well as a time to engage in acts of self-denial and sacrifice. The ashes that are used on Ash Wednesday symbolize the mortality of humanity and the need for repentance and salvation. 

In conclusion, Mardi Gras, Carnival, Shrove Tuesday, and Ash Wednesday are all important cultural and religious events that are celebrated in different ways by different communities. While these festivals have different traditions and meanings, they all serve to remind us of the importance of self-reflection, sacrifice, and the pursuit of spiritual growth. As we celebrate these festivals, let us remember to appreciate the cultural and religious diversity that enriches our world, and to seek to deepen our own understanding and appreciation of these traditions. 

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For additional education and personal development related to diversity, equity and inclusion, the following resources are available: DEI Education and Resources, DEI & Antiracism Resources from the UNC Libraries, the Education Equity Toolkit from the Colorado Department of Higher Education, and the UNITE workshops for faculty, staff, and students.