Mardi Gras Carnival Art / February 19, 2019 / Alta Gentry
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.
Characterized by costumes bright decorations and general merriment often induced by the consumption of alcohol the celebration came close to being banned several times during the 19th century but the formation of a social organization (krewe) by six men and the resulting Carnival Parade on the evening of Mardi Gras in 1857 rejuvenated and restructured the mayhem. Though the festivities were halted for the duration of the Civil War they resumed in full force upon its conclusion. New krewes have been formed continuously since the first parade and are added as space allows annually.
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.