Mardi Gras Carnival Art / February 22, 2019 / Francisca Mccarty
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.
It is usual that during the carnival aristocrats dress up as commoners men cross-dress as women and poor people dress up as princes and princesses - social roles and class differences are expected to be forgotten once a year but only for the duration of the festival. Rivertown s Mardi Gras Museum in New Orleans takes you through 100 years of Mardi Gras history showcasing floats memorabilia and pictures helping you understand all the history and culture of the festive holiday. There are lots of cheap hotels available both inside and out of the French Quarter so you can be as near or far from the parties as you like.
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.