Coming up this weekend is the UK’s largest Mardi Gras celebration, just around the corner in Hastings. The festival is only in its eighth year, but it feels settled, at home and a well loved local tradition.
Fat Tuesday actually spans almost a week, starting Thursday February 4 and ending on Shrove Tuesday, February 9 (perhaps better known as Pancake Day), and takes place in multiple venues across the old and new towns in Hastings. Music will be everywhere, in the streets, in pubs.
Or are umbrellas more your cup of tea? If so, the parade on Sunday February 7 is made for you. Leaving at noon from Chess Square in the Old Town, decorated umbrellas will be compulsory (as will some jazzy sounds). Decorative but also very practical at this time of year.
On the real day, Tuesday February 9, join the Fat Tuesday tour around town as 24 acts move around 12 venues. Expect to see extreme dressing up – it is Hastings after all!
[Editor’s note: Mardi Gras is perhaps most often associated with New Orleans, but many Christian countries have carnivals in the days and weeks running up to the start of the traditional Lent fasting before Easter – with some starting at Christmas or even earlier – and running through to Fat Tuesday (Shrove Tuesday), the day before the fasting starts on Ash Wednesday – when they also confess and are shriven – possibly because of what they did during Mardi Gras!]
Photo: Seana Lanigan