Fat Tuesday

What is Fat Tuesday? 

Fat Tuesday, also known as Shrove Tuesday or most commonly as Mardi Gras, is the day before Ash Wednesday and the last day of the liturgical season of Ordinary Time before Lent begins. Fat Tuesday is a time of celebration. It is typically viewed as the last day to celebrate and eat indulgent foods since Lent is a penitential time of fasting.

When is Fat Tuesday?

Fat Tuesday this year begins on February 21, 2023.

What is the Meaning of Fat Tuesday?

The traditional name of Fat Tuesday is Shrove Tuesday. “Shrove” is derived from the word “shrive” and means “absolve.” Catholics should spend time examining their conscience as they prepare for the penitential season of Lent. It’s a great time to reflect on areas where spiritual growth is needed. Catholic Churches burn the palms used during the previous year’s Palm Sunday in preparation for the ashes distributed on Ash Wednesday the next day.

This day is commonly called “Fat Tuesday” because it’s tradition to eat foods made with butter, eggs, and fat, such as meat and desserts. It’s a day of celebration before many Catholics give up these delicacies for the duration of the Lenten season.


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Traditional Fat Tuesday Meals

While tasty foods are traditional on Fat Tuesday they can vary from culture to culture. Donuts and pancakes are common, as are Polish Pączki. Mardi Gras King Cakes are also popular - these cakes are iced with purple, green, and yellow sugar and typically have a small plastic baby hidden somewhere in the cake. Whoever eats the piece of cake with the baby inside is responsible for bringing the king cake to the next year’s celebration! In the United States, New Orleans is known for its huge Mardi Gras celebration and parade, so many families eat jambalaya, gumbo, étouffée, red beans and rice, and other Cajun dishes. 

Whatever your culinary preferences, Fat Tuesday is a fun opportunity to gather with friends and family and celebrate together.

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