Mardi Gras Carnival Art / February 22, 2019 / Eve Owen
The celebration of the last day before Lent dates back to at least the Middle Ages when men of noble lineage or accomplishment were knighted and formal banquets took place to honor the occasion. Mardi Gras which means Fat Tuesday in French as an alternate name for Shrove Tuesday was established in New Orleans while the city was under French control and was maintained as a major festival even when the territory was relinquished into Spanish hands as well as after the Louisiana Purchase was signed and the state of Louisiana officially joined the Union.
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.
The carriers here were traditionally slaves and some of them today may well be their descendants. It s a great way to start a Carnival off. If you are fortunate to enjoy the festivities why not dress up and be a part of it all? There are many Mardi Gras costumes for you to buy on line if you want to enter into the spirit of it all. Mardi Gras Beads or throws are a fun part of the Carnival festivities in New Orleans Louisiana. The Carnival season begins on Twelfth Night or January 6th. Carnival refers to the whole season from January 6 through Fat Tuesday which is the Tuesday before Ash Wednesday or the beginning of the Lent season. Mardi Gras generally refers to Fat Tuesday only but many tourists describe the whole carnival season as Mardi Gras so locals began to refer to Fat Tuesday as Mardi Gras Day to alleviate any confusion. Festivities during the Carnival Season include parties or balls parades and king cake.