Fun facts

7 facts about Mardi Gras and Carnival

Good evening Caribbean lovers and happy Mardi Gras!

Hope everyone is enjoying some festivities. I already had my paczki today! For those that do not know, a paczki is a Polish tradition and it is basically a jelly filled doughnut that you eat on Fat Tuesday. Yum! We know that New Orleans is probably hoppin’ right now and some Caribbean islands have been enjoying Carnival celebrations since Feast of the Epiphany which was January 6th. People have been asking me if there is a difference between Mardi Gras and Carnival? The answer is no. Carnival always starts on the Feast of the Epiphany and goes till Lent while Mardi Gras is basically a single concluding day of Carnival. Enough about the history lets get to some fun facts!

♥Mardi Gras is French for Fat Tuesday.

12781495105_8337927dbb_o-0-0
Photo from Eater.com, Traditional Paczki

♥Mardi Gras celebrations originated by the Italian Catholics in Europe. It then Spread to the Spanish and French who, as they settled on islands like Trinidad, Dominica, Haiti, and Martinique, they brought the celebrations there and since then it transformed into the Carnival celebrations we see today.

4f533ba2405aa90d06cb0ed0a481c575
Photo from Bajantube.com, Carnival Celebrations

♥Mobile, Alabama held the first Mardi Gras celebration in the United States.

take-a-day-trip-to-mobile-alabama_16001321_800860182_0_0_14003290_500

♥In St. Thomas, USVI, the festival features “mocko jumbies” or festive stilt walkers. Mocko Jumbie is considered a spirit, protector, or seeker. They are viewed as symbols of the islands history, culture, and heritage.

a987441f6611698a3fce48e7a5e8a8c3
Mocko Jumbies!

♥Trinidad holds the worlds largest Carnival celebrations which usually begin 8 months in advance! Wow!

going-to-the-trinidad-carnival

♥A genre of music that is played frequently during Carnival is called rapso which is a combo of calypso and rap.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

♥The Mardi Gras colors are purple (for justice), green (for faith), and gold (for power).

carnival
Here is my Mardi Gras mask!

 

What did you do for Mardi Gras? Any tips on where to go for Carnival next year? I would love to go one time! Let me know! Thanks my friends!

-Jillian

Advertisements
Fun facts

Caribbean Islands and the Saints

How did the Caribbean Islands get their names? Most of the Islands were named by Christopher Columbus as he sailed past them in 1493.  Read on to discover the fascinating facts behind their names.

St. Kitts

Some say St. Kitts was named after Christopher Columbus himself and Kitts was sort of a nickname for Christopher. Others say he named it after the patron saint of travelers, which is St. Christopher. That is why before it was St. Kitts it was named St. Christopher. How interesting!

Check out this cute St. Christopher pendant necklace on Etsy!

96e30ec40f0bce1f2d7f5d8c92ce19ad
St. Kitts

St. Barts

The original settlers were the Arawak Indians and they named this island “Ouanalao” because of all the iguanas on the island. Once Christopher Columbus saw it he gave it the name, that we hear of today, St. Barthelemy or St. Barts. He named it this after his brother, Bartolomeo. Although, I do not know how much of a “saint” his brother was but maybe Christopher thought so? 😉

e388e248bd1b75194b60baa01b44119f
St. Barts

Virgin Islands

The Virgin Islands, my favorite of the Caribbean islands, was named by Christopher Columbus after St. Ursula and the 11,000 virgins. Basically Ursula went on a European pilgrimage before she was to be married and she and her virgin companions were murdered by the Huns. Very sad. St. Croix was named after the Holy Cross, St. John was named after St. John the Apostle, and  St. Thomas was named after Thomas, one of Jesus’s 12 apostles.

6d8172551d6fa989695caf74b152112b
St. John USVI

St. Lucia

St. Lucia is famous for its picturesque Piton mountains. It was named after St. Lucy of Syracuse by the French. She was a rich woman who sold all of her stuff because she wasn’t materialistic. However, her pagan husband got upset and sent her to be dealt with by the governor. St. Lucia was then martyred during the Diocletianic Persecution. Fun Fact: It is the only island named after a woman!

st-lucia-sugar-beach
The Pitons, St. Lucia

Sint Maarten/Saint Martin 

Named by Columbus, one side of this island is Dutch and one side is French. The island was named after Martin of Tours. It is said that it was the feast day (November 11th) of this saint when Columbus spotted the island. Martin of Tours was a solider turned monk who actually volunteered to stand unarmed on the front line of battle rather than fight. He was a type of freedom fighter and he is the patron saint of soldiers! Interesting man!

st-martin-st-maarten
St. Martin

St. Vincent

This island was named after the St. Vincent. It was also on his feast day (January 22nd) that Columbus discovered this island. He was captured by pirates (oh my!) and was sold into slavery and was a slave for 2 years! He prayed to God that if he would be freed he would devote his life to the poor. Fittingly,  St. Vincent did become dedicated to the poor and is the patron saint of the poor.

photo-canouan-grenadines-islands-35416-xl
St. Vincent

Sint Eustatius

Yet again, Columbus named this Dutch island. Want to hear something interesting, you know the logo on a Jaegermeister bottle? Well that cross and stag on the bottle is the emblem of Saint Eustace, in which the island is named after! He is the patron saint of Hunters. The Emblem refers to a time when he was out hunting and he saw a glowing crucifix between a deers antlers. Because of this he later converted to Christianity. Unfortunately. after disobeying the emperor he and his family were roasted alive inside of a bronze bull. Yikes!

 

liq_jag1

Pictures From Past Adventures

img_1342
The Baths, BVI
img_1387
Sailing on St. Martin

 

 

Fun facts, health

The Coconut

Cocos Nucifera, also known as the coconut, is more then an iconic staple of tropical life. The coconut palm is considered the tree of life. That is because every part of the tree can be used and by everything I mean the trunk, palms, husks, fiber, fruit, oil, sap, leaves, milk, and meat.  I am awe inspired by this infamous nut because I learned of how resilient  the coconut is. The coconut can float hundreds of miles in the ocean during a hurricane and will finally beach itself in one piece and make a coconut palm tree! Amazing!

That resiliency showcases itself in all the extraordinary ways the coconut is good for your health as well. I suppose the coconut being the main source of food and medicine for Pacific Islanders is one of the reasons they are among the longest living and healthiest humans in the world.

Here are 5 fun facts about the coconut:

  1. The coconut palm is the national tree of the Maldives and its on their coat of arms.
  2. A young coconut has a lot of water in them, which can be used as a refreshing drink.
  3. The coconut is considered a drupe not a nut. Other drupes are peaches, cherries, and plums.
  4. Coconut oil has many many benefits such as prevents heart disease, reduces inflammation, cancer prevention, moisturizes skin and hair, boosts the immune system, improves memory and brain function, and many more. Check out here for more health benefits.
  5. The top three producers of coconuts are the Philippines, India, and Indonesia.

An easy way I try to get the wonderful benefits of coconut oil is by using it for my cooking oil, baking with it, and I put a tablespoon of it into my green tea in the morning. Yum! Try it!

coconut2
Sounds about right 🙂

 

 

 

 

 

Fun facts

Margarita Day

“Margarita: its more than just a girls name.”

That was the tagline to the first importer of Jose Cuervo in the United States, which was in 1945. Many people have claimed they invented the margarita but I like the story of a woman in 1938 who told the bartender that she was allergic to all hard liquors except tequila and poof! the margarita was born!  Febuary 22nd, which is today, is national margarita day. Who knew!? Margaritas are known for their salty, sweet, and sour combination. I enjoy the classic margarita: tequila, lime, and triple sec. But Margaritas come in many different flavor combinations now. What is your favorite? For my Chicagoans, where can you get the best margaritas? While you think, here are 5 fun facts about margaritas:

  1. Margarita means daisy in Spanish
  2. The worlds largest margarita was made is Las Vegas (not surprised)
  3. The salt is important because it dampens the bitterness of the liquor
  4. The first margarita machine was invented by a high school drop-out in 1971.
  5. All tequila must be made by the blue agave plant.

For more information on random national days, check out http://www.nationaldaycalendar.com/calendar-at-a-glance/

img_1263
BOGO MARGARITAS, ST.MARTIN 😉