As a flight attendant, I’m constantly being exposed to all sorts of cultural phenomena and celebrations.  Just the other day on a flight from Miami to Phoenix, I was working with a Brazilian flight attendant who asked me if I’ve ever been to carnival. 

“Carnival?  Yea I’ve been to a carnival! Lots!  In fact, I grew up at them.  My family has been traveling as an independent concessioner for years,” I responded.  He laughed and said he meant the festival in Brazil called “carnival.”  

Because I’m always trying to learn… and bored out of my mind on reserve πŸ™„, I decided to look it up and found out what  he was referring to was Mardi Gras.  “Carnival” or “Mardi Gras” is celebrated in many countries around the world–mainly those with large Roman Catholic populations.  It begins after the Feast of the Epiphany and culminates on the day before Lent begins (Ash Wednesday). 

Because Catholics and some other Christians abstain from the consumption of meat during this season, it is evident to see how the word “carnival” derived… it literally means to remove meat!  

Some of the most beloved traditions during the carnival season is to buy or bake a king cake πŸ’œ, to wear masquerade masks 🎭, and to decorate with brightly colored beads ✨. It’s a fun excuse to party before the Lenten season begins!