By Betsy Thorpe
Mardi Gras, or Fat Tuesday is the last day of Carnival, a period of festivities marked on the Christian Calendar that originated in France during the Middle Ages. Carnival begins on January 6th with the Feast Of Epiphany (also known as the Twelfth Day of Christmas or Three Kings Day). In the days following Epiphany a series of Carnival parties, parades and masked balls lead up to Mardi Gras, the season’s final day of celebration. Carnival ends abrubtly at midnight on Tuesday with the onset of Ash Wednesday when the forty days of abstinence and fasting known as Lent begins.