Yesterday was Fat Tuesday/Mardi Gras/Martedi Grasso (in Italian). It was the final day of the Mardi Gras/Carnevale celebrations. I'm pretty lucky as I not only grew up in the city where Mardi Gras originated in the States (it's Mobile, Alabama by the way, not New Orleans, Louisiana), but I now live in the city where the celebrations actually originated (the ancient Romans started all these shenanigans, go figure).
Although the festivities for Mardi Gras in Rome are fun, I miss the parade of floats from home and being bombarded with MoonPies, beads, candies and other trinkets and goodies as they're thrown from the floats in to the crowds. It's a different type of celebration. I have such vivid childhood memories of celebrating Mardi Gras at my Grandparents' bicycle shop in downtown Mobile as we had one of the best spots on the parade route. The smells, the tastes, the feelings I remember ... maybe this is why the festivities in Rome just can't compare to the days I once knew.
One of the traditional things to do during Carnevale (aka Mardi Gras) in Italy is to eat castagnole. Castagnole are a sweet dessert, similar to doughnut holes. They have different variations. Some are plain and rolled in sugar, others are stuffed with cream, ricotta, or chocolate, while others are soaked in rum. We celebrated Fat Tuesday yesterday by indulging in a variety of the tasty little treats. Even though I had plenty of castagnole, my mouth still watered for a chocolate MoonPie ... and my heart ached for days long gone.
To read more about the Mardi Gras traditions in the city where it originated in the U.S., click here. To read more about the Carnevale traditions and celebrations in Rome, click here.