Mardi gras: origins of the tradition and essential recipes

Among the Romans, the calendar began in March, to begin with the beautiful season of spring, the month of renewal of nature. Sumptuous festivals marked these weeks of the Calends of March. Subsequently, the Christian calendar took over this custom, and now Mardi Gras is ahead of Ash Wednesday, the first of the forty days of Lent. The only feast with a fluctuating date, Mardi Gras precedes the Easter period, during which Christians observe two food restrictions in memory of Jesus’ retreat in the desert: forty days without eatingeggs and meat.

What to eat during Mardi Gras?

To prevent waste, the eggs in stock before Lent are therefore used in abundance, hence Ihabit of “getting fat” before starting Lent which prepares for the arrival of Easter. However, each country and region has its own culinary traditions based on these rich foods that must be “liquidated”. Most often, pancakes or donuts are made, the recipe of which comes from the Saracens and was brought back by the Crusaders to France. Each region has its own specialty for Mardi Gras: eat Beugnons in Berry, wonders in Charente, Fritelles in Corsica or the famous Bugnes in Lyon. There are also Rondiaux in Orléans and Tourtisseaux in Poitou. In the South, we will lean towards Chichifregi near Nice and Marseille. For a trip back in time, prefer the “oblivion”, formerly called “obelios”, which designate waffles whose origin dates back to the Greeks of Antiquity. Failing that, there remains the classic waffle, born in the 13the century of the spirit of a craftsman inspired by the cells of honey hives.

Salima Bahia


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