Mardi Gras Carnival Art / February 22, 2019 / Bobbi Oneil
The parades in New Orleans now begin up to three weeks before Mardi Gras with the Carnival season officially starting on the January 6th the Feast of Epiphany. The French Quarter of the city is the heart of the celebration which concludes promptly at midnight on Mardi Gras with the police asking revelers to scatter and the massive clean up getting under way. The krewe system was originally a hierarchical method that showcased the elite of the Carnival and usually New Orleans society. However in the latter part of the 20th century the exclusivity of the krewes was tempered by the formation of new more democratic krewes for which no credentials were required.
Behind the band come six "strong men" from the village often the tradition of carrying the torch or flambeaux is passed from father to son as the elder gets on in years. They sometimes have a helper walking beside them just in case. It s a hard and difficult job. The torches are similar in length to a caber and have been soaked for many months to ensure they stay alight. The flambeaux are then followed by many floats in which the local inhabitants deck both the float and themselves out in a variety of colours and costumes. Many are topical political statements. The more whisky that s handed around the waiting crowd the funnier they seem.
You do not want to spoil the carnival by ordering food that is bland or tasteless. So be sure to check and taste before you place your order. The other important thing is you need to buy and stock gifts to be given to children and guests. Select the appropriate gifts and then wrap them up in decorative papers. The host needs to bear in mind to keep up the spirits during the carnival. It is also advisable to stock yourself up with some bright colors or body paint as this is a usual custom during mardi gras to paint others in all sorts of colors and patterns. Care should be taken to use skin friendly colors for this purpose.