As numerous reference books point out, Mardi Gras is a reference to Carnival celebrations, which begin on or after Epiphany and end on the day preceding Ash Wednesday. The actual word “Mardi Gras” is of French origin and is literally translated as “Fat Tuesday!” This term refers to the practice of eating rich and indulgent food before the ritual fasting of the Lenten season begins on Ash Tuesday. Who knew? Before I did my research, I thought it was a costume party in the world famous French Quarter of New Orleans, Louisiana! This style of party is a tradition worldwide and many people attend them regardless of whether they understand the real meaning or not. New Orleans held its first celebration in 1856, and from then on their little celebration evolved into a costume parade with floats and continuous revelry that attracts people from around the globe. No matter what, it IS a great excuse to create a costume! This includes the wearing of masks that sparkle, shine and catch the attention of other partygoers and observers alike. It is interesting this year that the Super Bowl will be held a little over a week before the actual date for Mardi Gras February 12, 2013 isn’t it? Maybe you or your friends are going to a Fat Tuesday party, and you know what? Goodwill is the BEST place to find lots of ideas for crazy costumes. They have beads, baubles, and other items that can help you get your look together in a flash.