Mardi Gras Carnival Art / February 21, 2019 / Eve Callahan
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.
The major parades originate in the Uptown and Mid-City districts and pass through St Charles Avenue and Canal Street. After the main Zulu and Rex parades have passed through a number of smaller parades with truck floats and walking clubs make their way around the city. Spectators can revel in the colours and excitement of the parades costumes masks and catching as many of the famous beads as they can. Mardi Gras is an event that is being awaited by millions of people throughout the US. It is an event where a lot of people from all over the United States fly over to New Orleans to be a part of the mega celebrations.
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.