Mardi Gras Carnival Art / February 22, 2019 / Helena Ball
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.
Mardi Gras Day is also known as the Fat Tuesday. It is an interesting fact that Mardi Gras came to New Orleans with the French colonists in the 18th century. You would be amazed to know that it is not only in New Orleans that this event takes place but it also occurs in many parts of the world. In United States Mardi Gras takes place at Detroit Galveston Island Mississippi Mobile Pensacola St. Louis Port Arthur San Diego etc. Mardi Gras also takes place in many other countries which includes Australia Argentina Belgium Brazil Caribbean Italy Mexico Panama Slovenia Sweden and Uruguay.
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.