Mardi Gras Carnival Art / February 20, 2019 / Rachel Gates
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.
Around 30 000 visitors flock to Venice each day for the world famous carnival so be sure to book a room in one of the hotels prior to your trip. Be sure to pick up a traditional mask in Venice before you hit the Mardi Gras events. They can be found from a huge selection of street vendors and shops splattered along the side alleys. The carnival always runs with a different theme each year and activities include a silent regatta of row boats along the Canal Grande illuminated only with candles symbolic and suggestive symbol of rejoining with the city; concerts theatre pieces historical re-enactments grand balls and film shows.
The traditional Mardi Gras King cake is thought to have been derived from this need to use up perishable items. Today Carnival and Mardi Gras are celebrated in many different fashions. Some only celebrate on the actual Tuesday before Ash Wednesday while others take full advantage of the time and attend many luncheons masked balls and parades. Parades are generally the highlight for the majority of those who observe Mardi Gras and though Mobile and New Orleans have the biggest and oldest celebrations many other communities all along the Gulf Coast are forming their own societies.