Mardi Gras Carnival Art / February 19, 2019 / Bobbi Oneil
Beginning two weeks before Fat Tuesday or Mardi Gras Day there is at least one parade daily. It is during these parades that the beads or throws are primarily used. The New Orleans parades are organized by Krewes which are member sponsored communities. During the course of the parade the krewe members toss out a number of different types of throws such as beads doubloons cups and stuffed animals or small toys. Make sure you bring a large bag pillow case or any other sturdy container to bring your "catch" home in. Prior to the 1960 s the beads were made from glass; however they are currently being made from plastic.
Mardi Gras colors chosen by Rex king of carnival in 1892 are purple (for justice) green (for faith) and gold (for power). Generally Mardi Gras beads are a thin strip of beads made from plastic in one color only but the beads can come in every color under the sun. The most prized colors to receive are the Mardi Gras colors. Strands of bead also come in a wide variety of diameters and designs. The larger the beads and the more elaborate the design the more desirable the strand of beads. Carnival and specifically Mardi Gras Day is a fantastic way to spend time together as a family.
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.