The French class at Laramie High School threw a Mardi Gras celebration last Tuesday and Wednesday.

  LHS French teacher, Diane Thompson, organized an annual class Mardi Gras celebration to give students a break from the classroom environment as well as expose them to one of the oldest French traditions.

According to Thompson, “Learning french culture is a really big part of learning French itself.”

Mardi Gras is the phrase “Fat Tuesday” in French. This is evident due to participants feasting on what they can no longer consume on the day before “Ash Wednesday;” the beginning of the fasting season of lent.  

Mardi Gras is celebrated in many parts of Europe and is known as “Carnival” in South America which is one of the largest public festivals on the planet. 

In the United States, Mardi Gras can be seen predominantly celebrated in Louisiana cities such as Shreveport and, primarily, New Orleans due to the early French colonization of that area. 

This holiday plays a key role in French culture and the party came to LHS earlier this week. 

In the classroom, students brought in an array of food such as benguets, festive rolls, and a King Cake or two. 

As said by Thompson,  “The king cake is the traditional mardi gras cake.” 

The students decorate it with the traditional Mardi Gras colors of purple, green, and gold. 

“Then,” as reported by Thompson, “[they] stick a small bean or something in the cake and whoever gets the piece with [the bean] is the king or queen for the day.”

Some, instead of a bean, place a coin, a pecan, or even a small plastic baby in the cake for the winner to find.  

The students exposure to the Mardis Gras atmosphere allows them to look forward to a holiday that is normally not widely celebrated in this part of the country. 

The class then becomes fully  immersed in outside norms (which is not an occurrence one likely sees when the class recites a textbook) which is so important for any foreign language classroom environment. 

“We can learn the language and how to say words, but without the culture, you don’t get the full experience of a language,” Thompson had said.

This classroom celebration is special because of its history. 

Laramie High School French class has acknowledged and participated in a tradition that the French have been celebrating since the middle ages. 

As reported by Thompson, “Knowing that there’s this language that’s been around, and this country that’s been around for so many centuries and they still have traditions that they’ve celebrated many many years ago. For me, it’s just really special to be able to teach it.”