Mardi Gras Carnival Art / February 20, 2019 / Chris Burris
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.
Masks made from pale pastel plumage with shiny sequins are standard fare at Mardi gras Carnival and masquerade parties. There s an allure and style to them possessed by no other costume element. Much is made of our desire to pretend and the imagination s ability to do so. Few activities give us the opportunity as readily as does the costume party. Frills and flourishes that have no other place are found in abundance at parades of show costume-clad dancers wearing yards of sequined fishnet and feathered elegance. None of it would have the same mystery without the elegance of the mask. These beautiful adornments have a history of their own that heralds back to court functions in pre-Revolutionary France. There s the hint of a palace in every feathery sequined one of them.
With so many different celebrations it should be easy for anyone who desires to attend a parade to find one they are comfortable attending. The communities of Orange Beach and Fairhope have recently began holding parades and these are the perfect size to attend for someone who doesn t enjoy large crowds and wants to avoid any of the hard partying that can be seen in the larger cities along the Gulf Coast. This year to celebrate Mardi Gras send out a few free e-cards. Free e-cards are quickly becoming the favored choice over paper cards to celebrate events. Celebrated on the day before Ash Wednesday which marks the beginning of the penitence of Lent Carnival is a time to let loose of all inhibitions and relax often in a drunken rowdy manner if the annual spectacle of Mardi Gras is any kind of indication.