Religion Past and Present

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Shrove Tuesday/Mardi Gras
(454 words)

[German Version]

The earliest evidence for the celebration of Shrove Tuesday (Mardi Gras, Carnival) comes from the towns and cities of the 12th and 13th centuries; the nature of the celebration was based on its contrast with Lent: sumptuous, rich foods, copious drink, dancing, sporting events and games (often with a special role for butchers; cf. the Schembartlauf [“run of the hairy/bearded men”] in Nuremberg), special festivities of the nobility and dignitaries, allegorical plays and entertainments, weddings, and legal proceedings (payment of taxes).

Earlier scholarship gener…

Cite this page
Hartinger, Walter, “Shrove Tuesday/Mardi Gras”, in: Religion Past and Present. Consulted online on 13 August 2022 <>
First published online: 2011
First print edition: ISBN: 9789004146662, 2006-2013

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