Mardi Gras Carnival Art / February 21, 2019 / Lauri Cooke
After the founding of the Mystic Krewe of Comus in 1857 (and their nighttime torch-lit parade) the Krewe Of Rex established several key factors that would become staples for the entire Carnival tradition in 1872: the Mardi Gras flag the official colors of purple green and gold and the "royal anthem" of a song titled "If Ever I Cease To Love." In classic New Orleans style the song comes from a burlesque show entitled "Blue Beard" and features some of the craziest lyrics this side of a Christina Aguilera National Anthem performance: "If Ever I Cease To Love If Ever I Cease To Love/May cows lay eggs and fish grow legs If Ever I Cease To Love." Our very own Edward Branley recently told the fascinating story of how these insane lyrics have anything to do with Mardi Gras.
The carnival celebration always begin on January 6th which is the Twelfth Night (feast of Epiphany) and gains momentum reaching its climax at Midnight on Mardi Gras the day before Ash Wednesday. Actual Dates of Mardi Gras for Next Decade But just how will you know which Tuesday it will be? Ash Wednesday will always be 46 days before Easter and Fat Tuesday is always the day before Ash Wednesday. So Easter can fall on any Sunday between March 23rd and April 25th and the exact date will coincide with the first Sunday after the full moon following a Spring Equinox.
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.