Extravagant French Vocabulary
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Mardi Gras is an annual celebration of extravagance and (over)indulgence before Lent. The official slogan is "Let the good times roll," which is translated literally into French as Laissez les bons temps rouler (and is used only in Louisiana).
Because Mardi Gras, literally "Fat Tuesday," is tied to Easter, the date changes every year: it occurs 46 days before Easter, so somewhere between 3 February and 9 March. In 2023, Mardi gras is 21 February; in 2024, it will be 13 February.*
The period leading up to Mardi Gras is called Carnaval, and the several-week festival is celebrated in New Orleans, Nice, Guadeloupe, and many other francophone (and non-francophone) cities, regions, and countries.
|Shrove Tuesday||le Mardi gras|
|Ash Wednesday||le mercredi des Cendres|
|Easter||le Pâques, les Pâques|
Mardi Gras colors ~ Les couleurs de Mardi gras
The three official colors of Mardi Gras have official meanings:
Mardi Gras vocabulary ~ Le vocabulaire de mardi gras
|bonfire||un feu de joie|
|costume ball||un bal masqué|
|krewe (organizer)||un krewe|
|Mardi gras run||le courir|
French listening practice
- Mardi gras et Carnaval (Powerpoint, 4th – 12th grade)
- Mardi gras history and activities (Lesson, 8th grade)
- Mardi gras classroom party (Article, 4th – 7th grade)
- Cajun music (Lesson, 7th – 12th grade)
- Study of the Acadians (Lesson, 6th – 12th grade)
More from LKL
* Pancake recipes
In Commonwealth countries, this same day is known as Shrove Tuesday or Pancake Day.
French vocabulary for other holidays
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