Fat Tuesday is your last hurrah, folks, so let the carbo loading begin. Fat Tuesday will give way to a more solemn occasion, Ash Wednesday, and then a 40-day period of self-sacrifice known as Lent. For Catholics and other Christians, Ash Wednesday symbolizes the start of the 40 days Jesus spent praying and fasting in the desert, resisting temptation, before his crucifixion. So that means for those that stick with tradition today, Fat Tuesday is the last chance to do something you love, and wont be doing again until Easter. Do you go nuts? 

Fat Tuesday, the English translation of the French "Mardi Gras," signals the official end of Carnival season, billed as a hedonistic frenzy of food, booze, parades, masked celebrations and things that can't be printed in a family newspaper.

Fat Tuesday is kind of like a hangover helper -- and a way to get ready for what lies ahead.

The day is marked by one final food frenzy, much of it revolving around carbohydrates such as pancakes and deep-fried delights such as doughnuts. Why? Some say the tradition dates back to a time when refrigeration was non-existent and all the goodies in the home had to be eaten because they wouldn't survive Lent. (They would probably also be an unnecessary temptation.)

The food frenzy also offers a final opportunity to indulge in rich, fatty favorites before Ash Wednesday and Lent.

On Ash Wednesday, many Christians wear a cross on their foreheads made of ashes, a sign that the bearer is in the process of renewing and rededicating his or her faith, according to American Catholic's online site.