Mardi Gras: Mardi Gras means Fat Tuesday, which initially seems counter-intuitive on account of the dancing, liquid diet and bead economy. It originates as a kind of debauchery loophole before the fasting crackdown of Ash Wednesday and Lent, and the resulting six weeks of good behavior before Easter. In the UK, Shrove Tuesday, aka Pancake Day, rests upon the same concept as Mardi Gras, but substitutes flapjacks for beer and cajun food. Not surprisingly, Shrove Tuesday, while delicious, has yet to catch on in the US.
Super Bowl: If we have to go six months without football, at least we gave ourselves a grand spectacle on the last day of the season. This Super Bowl in particular featured a thirty-five minute blackout as the Louisiana Superdome seemed to say to both teams, “Let’s call it a night, gentlemen. No need to bother trying to top Beyonce’s performance, eh?” Ultimately the Baltimore Ravens, led by quarterback Joe Flacco, were able to hold off a late-game run by the San Francisco 49ers to become the first literature-mascotted team to win a major US title since they accomplished the feat in 2000.
Presidents Day: Lincoln-fever is sweeping the United States this winter on the heels of movies about such diverse topics as vampire-hunting and amendment-passing, threatening to turn this Presidents Day into an Abe-straviganza. Sometimes pop-culture can distort our view of history though, forcing us to wonder such questions as: Did Abraham Lincoln really save the union to prevent a permanent “twilight” from settling over the land? Did George Washington invent the advertising strategy of mid-winter mattress sales in order to finance the revolution? We may never know. What we do know is that our Topic Pages for these two are as robust as the mountain that bears their faces.
Valentine’s Day: Is Valentine’s Day a celebration of love originating from the letter writing of a third century priest, a response by the early Catholic Church to the pagan festival Lupercalia, or just another byproduct of the Greeting Card Industrial Complex? Explore our Topic Page and judge for yourself!
For other topics be sure to check out the Library’s Hot Topics..
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