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Fat Tuesday Ends Mardi Gras Today

The Zulu Parade moves through the central business district of New Orleans Tuesday. This is the last day of the Mardi Gras celebration, ending at midnight, after a day of parades, marching groups and people in costumes. (AP Photo/Bill Haber)

Question: What do you plan to give up for Lent?

Mardi Gras, Anyone?

Mardi Gras. It brings to mind beads, parties and fancy floats in New Orleans as people cram in all the fun they can before Lent begins. In reality, Mardi Gras has long been celebrated in coastal towns from Texas to Florida. And it means big business. “It is more of a regional thing, Mardi Gras is, from Texas down to (the) Gasparilla (pirate festival) down in the Tampa area,” said Stephen Toomey, whose family started a chain of Mobile, Ala.-based Mardi Gras party supply stores. “It means a way of life for people who live in these communities, but the bottom line is that it creates a lot of jobs.” Tourism leaders estimate more than 1 million visitors pour into the Mobile area each Mardi Gras season to watch the festivities/Associated Press. More here. (AP photo: Malia Miyashiro, of California, throws beads from a Bourbon St. balcony to Mardi Gras revelers in French Quarter in New Orleans earlier today)

Question: Do you participate in Mardi Gras activities closer to home? And/or: Do you observe Lent?

True or false

Those who are most into Fat Tuesday revelry are also apt to approach Lent in a reflective, soul-searching manner.


A Celebration, Then Ash Wednesday

A rider looks to throw his beads during the Krewe of Bacchus parade in New Orleans. Today, of course, New Orleans celebrates Fat Tuesday, the last day before the Catholic Lenten season begins with Ash Wednesday, by indulging in its annual Mardi Gras festivities. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

Question: Do you give some indulgence up in observation of Lent?