Why do we eat donuts, bugnes and other wonders on Mardi Gras day?

Impossible to resist these gigantic salad bowls of donuts. iStock

If Mardi Gras is a celebration famous for its disguises and party favors, we know less about the origin of its culinary traditions. But then why do we eat donuts, bugnes and marvels on this occasion? Explanations with a historian.

If Mardi gras or the carnival take their name and their date from Lent – which begins the next day Ash Wednesday – the festival is not originally Christian, unlike Candlemas which takes place a few weeks earlier. So why do we feast on bugnes, donuts, waffles and other crispy pancakes and churros at this time of year? Where do these gourmet and festive traditions come from? A holiday historian explains the origin of Mardi Gras. Something to shine at the next family lunch.

A word of history

As with many traditional holidays, there is seasonal significance behind Mardi Gras. Indeed, the festival takes place at the beginning of spring, and as for the Calends of January of imperial Rome at the beginning of our era, it celebrates the beginning of the year and the rebirth of nature. We find the same costumed parades in the days preceding Lent, the long period of fasting which refers to the forty days spent by Christ in the desert. “It was customary to eat in abundance then”, explains Nadine Cretin (1), historian of the festivals. “This feast which included meats and fatty broths and ended with simple pastries to make: pancakes or donuts, bugnes lyonnaises, marvels of Aquitaine or waffles. It implied prosperity, fertility, the return of lactation in stables and sheepfolds, the renewal of nature”, she continues.

Mardi Gras recipes donuts, pancakes and bugnes

Since when do we taste these sweets?

“However, it is very difficult to give a precise date to the appearance of these sweets and these traditions as they are ancient and widespread in Europe, adds the specialist. But today, there is a desire for secularization, by extending the Carnival over several days and even over several weeks, she affirms.We are no longer attached to the sole date of fat days.

In video: why do we eat donuts on Mardi Gras?

Mardi Gras parties and carnivals last longer and longer”. Some pastries have a better known origin. Thus in Lyon, the head of the pastry confectionery À la marquise (2) confirms “The tradition of bugnes has arrived in Lyon in the 16th century with Italian merchants. But the story having been lost over time, it would be necessary to ask my ancestors who are no longer of this world, to know when they really go back.

(1) Nadine Cretin, author of Table festivals and food traditions, Ed. Le Pérégrinateur, 2015 and Feast of Fools, Saint-Jean and Belles de Mai. Calendar Feasts, Ed. Threshold, 2008.
(2) At the Marquise, 37 rue Saint-Jean, 69005 Lyon.

Source link

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *