Mardi Gras Carnival Art / February 22, 2019 / Blanche Durham
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.
Meeting of the Courts Each year at the meeting of the courts there s a particular song that is played over and over (and over and over). The theme to Rex is a song called "If Ever I Cease To Love." After listening to the play by play by the on-air commentators and Mardi Gras Historians (like Mr. Mardi Gras Authur Hardy) " If Ever I Cease To Love" is considered to be THE pinnacle Mardi Gras song as well as the most traditional. Really guys? I ve never heard that song in my life. My curiosity was peaked and I went on a mission to find out everything I could about this ultimate Mardi Gras song. As it turns out "If Ever I Cease To Love" is steeped in tradition and remains probably the oldest Mardi Gras tunes out there.
The traditional Mardi Gras King cake is thought to have been derived from this need to use up perishable items. Today Carnival and Mardi Gras are celebrated in many different fashions. Some only celebrate on the actual Tuesday before Ash Wednesday while others take full advantage of the time and attend many luncheons masked balls and parades. Parades are generally the highlight for the majority of those who observe Mardi Gras and though Mobile and New Orleans have the biggest and oldest celebrations many other communities all along the Gulf Coast are forming their own societies.