Should Christians celebrate Mardi Gras – Shrove Tuesday?

Author: BibleAsk Team

Mardi Gras

The Mardi Gras celebration is held on Shrove Tuesday, the day before Lent in many christian churches. Lent is the 40 weekdays from Ash Wednesday to Easter observed by the Roman Catholic, Eastern and some Protestant churches as a period of penitence and fasting. The World Book Encyclopedia says that the celebration “goes back to an ancient Roman custom of merrymaking before a period of fast.”

About Mardi Gras, note the following encyclopedia article excerpt: “Some scholars have noted similarities between modern Mardi Gras celebrations and Lupercalia, a fertility festival held each February in ancient Rome. However, modern Carnival traditions developed in Europe during the Middle Ages (5th century to the 15th century) as part of the ritual calendar of the Roman Catholic Church.

“Today pre-Lenten Carnivals are celebrated predominantly in Roman Catholic communities in Europe and the Americas. Cities famous for their celebrations include Nice, France; Cologne, Germany; and Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. New Orleans, Louisiana, holds the most famous Mardi Gras celebration in the United States. Residents of New Orleans have been celebrating Mardi Gras since the 18th century” (“Mardi Gras,” Encarta).

The idea of indulging in drinking alcohol and partying before fasting is not Biblical. The Scriptures teach, “Dearly beloved, I beseech you as strangers and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul” (1 Peter 2:11). The attitude of enjoying the lusts of the flesh before repentance doesn’t reflect the sanctified heart of a true follower of God.

God says we should always live holy lives and obey His laws because they are good for us. Paul wrote, “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God” (Romans 12:1-2).

Neither Mardi Gras nor Lent are commanded in the Bible but come from pre-Christian, pagan customs. So, Instead of renaming some of the pagan customs as Christian, Paul commanded the believers to leave them: “Therefore ‘Come out from among them and be separate, says the Lord. Do not touch what is unclean, and I will receive you. I will be a Father to you, and you shall be My sons and daughters, says the Lord Almighty.’ Therefore, having these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God” (2 Corinthians 6:14–18; 7:1).

In His service,
BibleAsk Team

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