French, German clubs to host Mardi Gras

Kennedy Nolen, Contributing Writer

Eastern’s French and German clubs will celebrate the traditional festivities of Mardi Gras, French for “Fat Tuesday” and Karneval from 6 to 8 p.m. Tuesday in room 1170 of Coleman Hall.

Mardi Gras and Karneval are festivals traditionally celebrated by people of the Catholic faith before Lent begins.

Lent takes place in the 40 days before Easter, during which Catholics fast and give up other pleasures.

The holidays before then give them a time to indulge in alcohol, food and fun.

The world “carnival” is said to have derived from the Latin phrase “carne vale,” which means “farewell to meat.” This signifies the fasting to come.

People wear masks and costumes to let go of their own personality and to be someone new for the day, since mainstream actions and norms are disregarded on Mardi Gras.

Ryan Schroth, a French professor and adviser to the French club, said the French and German clubs will have a mask-decorating contest and a bead-throwing game, as well as French and German trivia.

The clubs will also play Cajun music and German Karneval music, he said.

A traditional food eaten in New Orleans is “king cake,” made with different fillings and decorated with purple, green and gold icing. A small plastic baby representing Jesus is baked inside. The person who gets the piece of cake with the plastic baby is named “king” or “queen” for the day.

In French society, the reason people made king cake, waffles and crepes was to get rid of all of their eggs before the fasting began.

Schroth said since giving up fatty foods for Lent was common, making these treats was a good way to use the eggs before they went bad.

Schroth said the French and German clubs will have donuts and pizza to eat.

Beads and masks will also be available.

Schroth said he hopes this year’s Mardi Gras and Karneval celebrations will be bigger than ever.

He said he just wants students to have fun, and everyone is welcome regardless of their ability to speak French or German.

Kennedy Nolen can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected].