Mardi Gras Carnival Art / February 22, 2019 / Laurel Hawkins
Mardi Gras has long combined wild street activities open to everyone with events organized by private clubs known as krewes. It is a child-friendly season everywhere in New Orleans besides Bourbon Street. It is a day of carefree indulgence marked by revelers in bizarre costumes dancing in the street. It is French for Fat Tuesday the day before Ash Wednesday. Mardi Gras is without a doubt Louisiana s oldest celebrated holiday. It is just around the corner don t forget. It is referred to with different names. Mardi Gras or "Fat Tuesday" is the day before the season of Lent begins.
Beginning two weeks before Fat Tuesday or Mardi Gras Day there is at least one parade daily. It is during these parades that the beads or throws are primarily used. The New Orleans parades are organized by Krewes which are member sponsored communities. During the course of the parade the krewe members toss out a number of different types of throws such as beads doubloons cups and stuffed animals or small toys. Make sure you bring a large bag pillow case or any other sturdy container to bring your "catch" home in. Prior to the 1960 s the beads were made from glass; however they are currently being made from plastic.
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.