The Mystery of Mi-Carême
  Recently, I was reading a book titled "The Mardi Gras Mystery," written by H. Bedford-
Jones and published in 1921, when I came across this passage:

  "A gentleman from the North was enjoying the privileges of a guest card at the Chess and
Checkers Club.  He approached the secretary's desk and paused, listening to the sounds of
revelry which filled the club itself and which, also, came roaring in from the city streets outside.
  " 'Say!' he addressed the secretary.  'What's this Mi-Carême I've been reading about in the
papers, anyhow?  I thought everything was tight as a clam down here after Mardi Gras!  It's
still the Lenten season, isn't it?  Mardi Gras doesn't come more than once a year, does it?'
  "The secretary smiled.  'Certainly, sir, it's still Lent.  But the French people have what they
call Mi-Carême or Mid-Lent, and they certainly give it a big celebration!  It's a night halfway
through Lent, when they can enjoy themselves to the limit—let off steam, as it were.' "

  All of this intrigued me, since I'd never heard of Mi-Carême before.  Even though 1921
was considerbly before my time and the tradition must have died out many years ago, it
amazed me that I'd never heard of it from older adults when I was growing up or hadn't
come across it somewhere in my New Orleans research.  But the most intriguing part was
yet to come.
  When I started searching for it in my old books and online, I still couldn't find it - at least,
not in association with the city.  I found it in France and with the French Acadians in Nova
Scotia.  But not a word about New Orleans.
  "The Mardi Gras Mystery" produced a mystery of its own.  I'm hoping someone who
visits this page will know about the Mi-Carême tradition in Old New Orleans.  And I'm
hoping I can figure out how I missed hearing about it!  -- Nancy
Mi-Carême celebration, France, 1913
Mi-Carême celebrations in France, above, 1907; below, 1911
  Mi-Carême or Mid-Lent celebrations date back to the Middle Ages in France and
the tradition crossed the Atlantic Ocean with the first French-speaking settlers to
the New World.
  At one time, Mid-Lent was celebrated across Canada's Maritime provinces, but,
by the mid-20th century, it had become limited to only a few areas.  However, Mi-
Carême, once an integral part of Acadian heritage, has experienced a recent
resurgence in popularity.  The Centre de la Mi-Carême, in Cape Breton, Nova
Scotia, has opened and offers a display of locally crafted masks and interactive
exhibits depicting the evolution of “La Mi-Carême.”