The name even sounds carnal.
Catherine Delors gives us a glimpse into the day before Lent festivities in Paris just before the Revolution.
Carnival in Paris
Carnival is the time of revelry and celebration that precedes the fast of Lent and culminates with Mardi-Gras, Fat Tuesday. Before the French Revolution it was the occasion for masquerades, and also raucous parades through the streets of Paris, like the promenade du bœuf gras ("fat ox.") A young boy, called "King of the Butchers" with a gilt crown, sword and scepter, rode the ox, at the sound of violins, fifes and drums, surrounded by butchers disguised as women.
Social barriers, good taste and rules of acceptable behavior fell by the wayside for a few days. The Church remonstrated in vain. The great writer Louis-Sebastien Mercier, who must receive credit for giving us the best snapshots of everyday life in Paris at the end of the 18th century, reports on the obscenity of the parades.more...
With a shake of my head, and a rolling of my eyes, I thank you Catherine!
Dieu le Roy!