The carnival is also called Fat Tuesday, as it takes place before Ash Wednesday. Ash Wednesday marks the beginning of Lent. So Fat Tuesday or carnival is the last chance for people to enjoy themselves before turning to prayers and meditation. So while the scene is filled with frenzy and partying, there are actually religious undertones beneath it all.
It’s worth noting that the carnival is another example of how the Church managed to fuse the pagan elements with Christian themes. Unable to stop the populace from participating, the authorities infused it with a religious element.
To Promote Tourism
Another reason why people celebrate Mardi Gras is that it helps the tourist industry. In places like New Orleans and Rio de Janeiro, the carnival plays an important role in the economy. Every year, thousands of people attend these street parties. This boosts the income from the tourism industry. In return it gives the government more money to fund projects.
The carnival also provides livelihood. Some people make their living creating the extravagant outfits. Others earn their keep from body painting and making floats. If the carnival were to be stopped, several industries would be affected.
Aside from the carnival itself, the event gives a country or locality the chance to promote itself as a tourist haven. So it would be correct to say that a major reason why people celebrate Mardi Gras is for economic gain.
So People Can Get Together
Since ancient times, carnival has been the only time when class and social status dissolve. Rich and poor come together on the streets to party. For communities and towns, it’s their chance to work together for a common cause. In Rio there are competitions for the best float, best dress etc. This allows people to work hand in hand.
Carnival is also the time when individuals can allow themselves to be what they want to be without society condemning their behavior. Cross dressing, exposing breasts and other behavior that may normally be considered bizarre become acceptable.
During ancient times, the reason why people celebrated Mardi Gras was to give everyone the chance to be equal. Even today, people look forward to carnival if only for this reason. During this time the borders separating gender, age and belief disappear.
To Have Fun
Finally, people join carnival just to let their hair down. Throughout the whole year everyone is stressed out. Carnival gives them the opportunity to relax. Some people watch the carnivals just to see the colorful floats.
For others, what draws them in are the street dancing and drinking. Of course for the devoted, it’s still the time for them to enjoy before settling down to reflect during Lent.
There are numerous reasons why people celebrate Mardi Gras. For those who take part in it, there’s no need to explain why. The only thing that matters is that they enjoy.