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Do you call it Shrove Tuesday, Pancake Day, Mardi Gras or, as it’s known in Italy, Martedì Grasso?

Whatever name you know it by, the day before Ash Wednesday offers an excuse to indulge.  In Italy, this time of the year goes under the name of Carnevale Lit. ‘Goodby to the flesh’ and the last day of Carnevale, in 2021, falls on Tuesday 16 February.  It’s the day before Ash Wednesday, the first day of Lent.  And because the date of Easter changes every year, so too does Carnevale.

As with all Italian celebrations and holidays, food plays an important part in the widely-celebrated and important Carnevale traditions.  Food even has a bearing on the name.  The Italian word Carnevale is derived from the ancient Italian for carne (meat) and vale (farewell).  And that’s why Lent is preceded by significant parties and meals.

As with the Mardi Gras (which is French for ‘Fat Tuesday’)  or, as it’s known in Italian ‘Martedì Grasso’ yes, in both French and Italian the adjective usually goes after the noun) celebrations that will be held around the world, this date marks the opportunity to enjoy a final party – a day of eating and merrymaking – before the period of abstinence and fasting during Lent.