Mardi Gras means, as you know, Fat Tuesday, the Tuesday before Ash Wednesday. That's the Tuesday before we begin the time of fasting during the six weeks of Lent. Years ago the rules for fasting during Lent were very strict; and because of their strictness the rules also stated that they applied to those who were healthy enough, and young enough (from 18 to 59 years of age) to endure the Lenten fast . Also, the rules for abstinence (refraining from eating meat) did not apply to children under the age of 14.
The Lenten fast went this way: you could not eat in between meals; you could eat only one modestly normal meal; and only two much smaller meatless meals. Ash Wednesday and all the Fridays of Lent (including Good Friday) were days of abstinence as well.
Before, during and after the Second Vatican Council (1962-1965) the rules for Lenten fasting and abstinence were relaxed, eventually to keeping Fridays (including Good Friday) and Ash Wednesday as days of abstinence, and only Ash Wednesday and Good Friday as days of fasting.
Why the change? Because in many people's minds Lent became a matter of rule-keeping (and a sin-laced sense of breaking the rules) instead entering more fully into the meaning and purpose of Lent: investing our bodies, minds and souls into our Lenten prayer to ask the Lord to bring about a lasting change for the good in our Christian life.
Now that we are well passed the era of thinking everything is a sin, perhaps returning to the old rules of Lenten observance, freely chosen, may be a good direction to go during this Lent. Just leave off the sin-laced elements and enter as fully as possible in the real meaning of Lent: a lasting change for the good in our relationship with the Lord. So, on Fat Tuesday, Pig Out!