Mardi Gras Carnival Art / February 21, 2019 / Fran Petty
Mardi Gras colors chosen by Rex king of carnival in 1892 are purple (for justice) green (for faith) and gold (for power). Generally Mardi Gras beads are a thin strip of beads made from plastic in one color only but the beads can come in every color under the sun. The most prized colors to receive are the Mardi Gras colors. Strands of bead also come in a wide variety of diameters and designs. The larger the beads and the more elaborate the design the more desirable the strand of beads. Carnival and specifically Mardi Gras Day is a fantastic way to spend time together as a family.
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.
In the early 90 s people began to tire of the thin strands of plastic beads and would actually just leave them laying on the ground so some krewe members began to throw larger beads or novelty type beads with a theme. So why throw Mardi Gras beads? There is a school of thought that the beads or representative of the jewelry that was worn by royalty. People stand on the side of the road begging trinkets. "Throw me something Mister" is a phrase you can hear over and over again. If you catch the eye of a krewe member they will reward you by throwing a string of beads or more to you.