Mardi Gras Carnival Art / February 21, 2019 / Alta Gentry
Refreshments will need to be more amazing than usual and the dances will need to be courtlier than ever before. Everything will take on a fancier appearance when masks with feathers and sequins appear at a party. Laughter is an automatic response to the sight of masks made with the look of antique feathers and sequins in a costume s design. It is nearly impossible not to smile at this soft finery. Every Hogmanay or New Years Eve in a small Perthshire village in Scotland the tradition of a parade being lead by flambeaux carriers lives on. The celebrations commence with the sounds of the pipe band (bagpipes and drums) and shortly before midnight the main road running from one end of the village to the other is closed off to traffic.
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.
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.