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88Nine Radio Milwaukee

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Countdown to Mardi Gras! The story behind the party

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Mardi Gras? What’s a Mardi Gras? Pardon my French, but it literally means Fat Tuesday and it’s a tradition not only in New Orleans, but worldwide. It’s also the world’s biggest party! Also known as Carnival, the good time America calls Mardi Gras has ancient, Roman Roots.

The Romans called this pagan festival Lupercalia in honor of “Lupercus,” the Roman god of fertility. As it is today so was it was-- Lupercalia was a drunken orgy of mask-wearing and merrymaking held every February. A Pre-party preparative for the penance of a forty day fast. Though it’s linked to Lent these days, is as pagan as it is Christian, perhaps primordial; a pendulum swinging sinners to saints.

And on this day we’ll begin the bacchanal with band that was just in Milwaukee, New Orleans based funk group, Galactic on a tune that as always is apropos, from their 2010 release Ya-Ka-May its “Bacchus” featuring legendary NO performer Allen Toussaint…