* Try the links in larger bold type to find online activities.
Epiphany, which falls on January 6, twelve days after Christmas, celebrates the visit of the Wise Men bearing gifts for the infant Jesus. Some call Epiphany the Twelfth Night or Three Kings' Day and, in the Eastern churches they call it Theophany. The Carnival season kicks off with the Epiphany.
Carnival is the merrymaking and festivities that take place before the beginning of Lent on Ash Wednesday.
The word CARNIVAL comes from the Late Latin expression carne vale, which means "farewell to meat", signifying that those were the last days when one could eat meat before the fasting of Lent.
Mardi Gras is French for Greasy or Fat Tuesday, the day before Lent begins. New Orleans, Louisiana has a large pre-Lent celebration. Traditionally people share Kings' Cake.
Find out about Kings' Cake here.
* Watch a video about making your own mini King Cake.
Shrove Tuesday or Pancake Day
Another name for the day before Ash Wednesday is Shrove Tuesday. People would go to confession before Lent began to confess their sins and receive absolution or to be shriven from their sins. Then they would make amends by abstaining from meat and meat products during the Lenten season. Pancake Tuesday came from the custom of making pancakes to use up fat, eggs and dairy before the fasting and abstinence of Lent.
* Read about Shrove Tuesday and pancake traditions here.
* Play a pancake tossing game online.
Burying the Alleluia
Since Alleluia is a word that joyfully praises God, we don't use Alleluia during the solemn season of Lent. We use other words to praise God during Lent. It is an old custom to bury the Alleluia on Ash Wednesday to show that it is out of commission until Easter Vigil on Holy Saturday night.