Mardi Gras Carnival Art / February 21, 2019 / Blanche Durham
Rio s Mardi Grad carnival is famed not only for its brilliant parades but its street parties the biggest of which is held on Cinelândia Square brimming with acclaimed orchestras and singers for people to dance the night away. The elaborate parades staged by the city s major samba schools in the Sambadrome are world famous. Parading in the Sambadrome runs over four entire nights and is part of an official competition divided into seven divisions in which a single samba school is declared that year s winner. As well as the five main parades visitors can enjoy the Carnival balls held around the city including the famous Magic Ball at the Copacabana Palace Hotel which requires guests to wear black tie or a luxury costume and often a number of international and local VIPs are in attendance.
You can pack a picnic lunch play ball watch the parades and enjoy the festivities. Because Mardi Gras Day lasts the majority of the day wear sunscreen bring your lunch and make sure you have enough bags to bring home a large catch. Mardi Gras Day parades are the biggest and utilize the largest number of throws. Have loads of fun and catch a lot of Mardi Gras beads. Over the years I have developed certain classic New Orleans Carnival traditions of my own (as most people in this town do). I am what you call a "ball-goer." I try to attend as many of the large carnival balls as I can. In 2008 I consumed a mass quantity of energy drinks and few thousand diet cokes which provided me with the stamina to make an appearance at the big three: the Endymion Extravaganza the Bacchus Ball and the Orpheus Orpheuscapade.
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.