A lot of people yesterday took serious interest in where those Mardi Gras beads came from. Thanks for all your visits.
While my wife was reading the post, she was struck by how early Mardi Gras will be next year and decided to look it up. Apparently, February 5th is nearly the earliest it can fall. The last time it was Feb. 5 was in 1983. And it won't fall on Feb. 5 again until after 2160, according to this post. ( Let's see, I will be over 200 then. Probably won't be diving for many beads)
According to the New Orleans Public Library FactFinder, it can fall as late as March 9 --which it will do in 2038. There hasn't been a March 9 Mardi Gras since before 1947 -- So 2038 will be the first one in more than 90 years.
While we're talking about this, I suggest you mark the 2038 date on your calendar (you do have a 50 year calendar, don't you?) because if you miss it you have to wait until 2190 for another March 9 Mardi Gras.
Why does Mardi Gras move around -- because its the last day before the start of Lent -- "eat drink and be merry because Lent starts tomorrow and we fast for 40 days."
Starting back at the Council of Nicea and a lot of complicated work since setting up a new calendar, the Gregorian Calendar, the Catholic Church decided Easter was set for the first Sunday after the first full moon that follows the Vernal Equinox.
You'll probably die if I tell you it gets more complicated than that (they use the "eccliastical full moon" -- not the same as an astronomical full moon. And they fix the Vernal Equinox at March 21 -- the VE is the when the "apparent ecliptic longitude of the Sun is zero" -- I knew you would ask) .
If your interest goes deeper, slip over to this link. I guarantee you will learn much more than you ever wanted to know. We'll wait till you get back to continue ...
So, (welcome back) Easter can range between March 22nd to April 25th. Mardi Gras was then set to be 47 days before Easter -- it can fall on any Tuesday from February 3rd (next one in 2285) to March 9th.
Uh Oh, I can see it coming. Go ahead. state your objection.
"You said Lent was 40 days. Now your telling me it starts 47 days before Easter?"
Well, I said Mardi Gras was 47 days before Easter. Mardi Gras is not part of Lent. Lent starts the next day, Ash Wednesday. Lent is to be 40 days of fasting and self denial. But, Sundays are the Lord's Day, and one does not fast on those days. So that stretches Lent out into 46 days starting Ash Wednesday and ending at Easter.
Now that you are wise to the ways and dates of Mardi Gras, you have receive special permission to wear you wizard's costume on Mardi Gras. (see above).
Mardi Gras music please.....