Mardi Gras Carnival Art / February 22, 2019 / Eve Callahan
Masks made from pale pastel plumage with shiny sequins are standard fare at Mardi gras Carnival and masquerade parties. There s an allure and style to them possessed by no other costume element. Much is made of our desire to pretend and the imagination s ability to do so. Few activities give us the opportunity as readily as does the costume party. Frills and flourishes that have no other place are found in abundance at parades of show costume-clad dancers wearing yards of sequined fishnet and feathered elegance. None of it would have the same mystery without the elegance of the mask. These beautiful adornments have a history of their own that heralds back to court functions in pre-Revolutionary France. There s the hint of a palace in every feathery sequined one of them.
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.
With so many different celebrations it should be easy for anyone who desires to attend a parade to find one they are comfortable attending. The communities of Orange Beach and Fairhope have recently began holding parades and these are the perfect size to attend for someone who doesn t enjoy large crowds and wants to avoid any of the hard partying that can be seen in the larger cities along the Gulf Coast. This year to celebrate Mardi Gras send out a few free e-cards. Free e-cards are quickly becoming the favored choice over paper cards to celebrate events. Celebrated on the day before Ash Wednesday which marks the beginning of the penitence of Lent Carnival is a time to let loose of all inhibitions and relax often in a drunken rowdy manner if the annual spectacle of Mardi Gras is any kind of indication.