Mardi Gras Carnival Art / February 21, 2019 / Eve Callahan
Behind the band come six "strong men" from the village often the tradition of carrying the torch or flambeaux is passed from father to son as the elder gets on in years. They sometimes have a helper walking beside them just in case. It s a hard and difficult job. The torches are similar in length to a caber and have been soaked for many months to ensure they stay alight. The flambeaux are then followed by many floats in which the local inhabitants deck both the float and themselves out in a variety of colours and costumes. Many are topical political statements. The more whisky that s handed around the waiting crowd the funnier they seem.
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.
Though debutante balls and other high society events marking the holiday are still prominent they are no longer the only way to participate in the excitement. A trip to New Orleans during Carnival season is highly recommended if you wish to see everything first-hand but if that is too long a way from home try setting up a Carnival parade in your city or neighborhood. You need to organize some participants get plenty of festive decorations and start thinking of the most outrageous costumes not to mention get the permission and cooperation of local authorities. If that is hard to come by throwing a Carnival-themed party is another great way of sharing the thrill of Mardi Gras.