I’m not going to pretend to know the religious intricacies of Fat Tuesday. It has something to do with lent? Load up on the Crisco before it’s banned? I can’t be too sure. My only tangible memory of something occurring on Fat Tuesday was the year my mom cranked out some homemade donuts. They’re called fasnachts, and apparently this is Central PA’s answer to Fat Tuesday…Fasnacht Day. Generally, I’d be on board with any day that has its own donut, but Fat Tuesday isn’t one of these days that resonate for me. It’s no Cinco de Mayo.
I do find it slightly odd how people latch onto holidays. I’m quite certain most people would like everyday to be a holiday, so the chance to throw down some margaritas at Chili’s on May 5th can’t be overlooked. I’d assume a good portion of people don’t know the significance of Cinco de Mayo, and if they do, it’s only a cursory knowledge. “Big in Mexico,” they might say while pronouncing the last word like a sandwich spread. I’m guilty of most of this myself. A few years ago you could have seen me wearing a Sombrero on the closest weekend to May 5th and eating something in the neighborhood of a fajita. I also can’t give you many details on Mexican independence other than they have it. Maybe I’ll wiki it later.
I guess the phenomenon is proof of diversity in the United States. Other cultures influence the days that jump out on the calendar. I can’t imagine the 4th of July is too big around the World. But here, we’re more than happy to hop onto Cinco de Mayo, or St. Patrick’s Day, and maybe to a lesser extent Fat Tuesday. It makes me wonder if there are any other good holidays out there that we are missing out on. Surely we could use a reason to party in June? No? I know we have our fair share of national holidays, but perhaps we need more days like today, days I would call Happy Hour Holidays.
I’ve also always kind of wonder what the native cultures/countries think of the Americanized version of their holidays. I’m sure plenty of Irish people aren’t 100 percent on board with the notions of people stumbling around drunk off Guinness on their national holiday. Maybe they don’t care. Not sure, but I might be bothered a bit. It’s kind of like cheesesteaks. Around the country when I see an unauthentic sandwich masquerading as a cheesesteak it annoys me. It’s not that the sandwich exists elsewhere, it’s the fact that it might not be properly represented. So, I guess to properly experience Fat Tuesday you should be in New Orleans. Or else, try to keep it as authentic as possible. And yes, I did just compare cheesesteaks to major holidays.