Mardi Gras Carnival Art / February 22, 2019 / Cecelia Montgomery
Mardi Gras Indians have been parading in New Orleans at least since the mid-19th century possibly before. It is February 24th/25th but we are extending the celebrations. Mardi Gras weekend kicks off on the Friday before February 24th with the Merchants Parade and the weekend holds all sorts of fun from gumbo cook-offs to Cajun food and music Children s activities various parades and the grand finale is the Krewe of Krewes Parade on Carl day. The parades are a big attraction. Get the Parade Schedule -- Since this is the main attraction for most visitors to Mardi Gras it s important to get the parade schedule as soon as possible so you can plan your itinerary.
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.
In the early 90 s people began to tire of the thin strands of plastic beads and would actually just leave them laying on the ground so some krewe members began to throw larger beads or novelty type beads with a theme. So why throw Mardi Gras beads? There is a school of thought that the beads or representative of the jewelry that was worn by royalty. People stand on the side of the road begging trinkets. "Throw me something Mister" is a phrase you can hear over and over again. If you catch the eye of a krewe member they will reward you by throwing a string of beads or more to you.