Here we go again! Each year at this time I’m tempted to write, but a busy schedule gets in the way. Well, not this year...
It’s time for Carnival (Carnaval) here, and I feel the need to point out its correct name. It is not called “Mardi Gras.”
Mardi Gras is French for “Fat Tuesday” – Shrove Tuesday in English. This is the last day before the start of Lent on Ash Wednesday, and can be a blow-out before the 40 days of abstinence begins. It came to the United States via French colonists, and, while not celebrated throughout the U.S., is still celebrated in former French parts. Most notably New Orleans and Mobile, Alabama.
In the parts of the rest of the world where it is celebrated, it has a different name. In addition, the length and nature of the celebration varies in different cultures. They are not all clones of Mardi Gras in New Orleans!
In the Spanish speaking world, it is called “Carnaval.” This was a tradition brought here not by French colonists, but by the Spanish (and Portuguese). Interestingly, it is no longer referred to as “Mardi Gras” in France – it is also now called Carnival there. In other countries, it has other names. In Mexico, unlike the United States, Carnaval is celebrated throughout the country.
The point is that it can only correctly be called “Mardi Gras” when celebrated within the United States.
Why does the foreign community always seem to want to impose their culture on the Mexican culture? Is it so difficult for us to use the proper Spanish word when referring to this celebration? I would like to see this practice stopped in this newspaper, and elsewhere in Lakeside. Please refer to it solely as “Carnaval.” By way of explanation, if needed, you can say that it is similar to Mardi Gras, but please don’t call it that. Why would Mexicans use a French name to refer to one of their old traditions?
A message to readers from Cruz Roja Chapala:
This is a very busy season for all of Lakeside; maybe setting a new record for visitors? But though we’re happy to meet so many new friends, the influx creates some problems for us at the Cruz Roja. We have been a lot busier than is usually the case, tending to home accidents, traffic accidents and the results of civic unrest.
Our medicine cabinet is getting depleted, emergency supplies are being used up at an alarming rate and the fuel bills for the ambulances are escalating.
If you can help defray these costs in any way it would be greatly appreciated. The ambulance will be stationed at this weekend’s Chili Cookoff (until called into service) and there will be a first aid station staffed by paramedics and volunteers to help. Blood pressure checks are available.
Your donations do make a difference. Cruz Roja para Todos! (Cruz Roja is for everyone!).
Cruz Roja Chapala