Mardi Gras Carnival Art / February 21, 2019 / Lauri Cooke
The parade continues from one end of the village to the other with most of the village inhabitants either looking from their windows or standing on the pavements and cheering on the flambeaux carriers. The whole thing reaches it s climax after about 45 minutes when the torches are thrown off the bridge and into the River Earn with the idea that with them all the village demons then float away and arrive at the next village. Across the Atlantic Ocean all the way to New Orleans at the Mardi Gras parade the highlight for many is also the Flambeaux Procession.
In the early 90 s people began to tire of the thin strands of plastic beads and would actually just leave them laying on the ground so some krewe members began to throw larger beads or novelty type beads with a theme. So why throw Mardi Gras beads? There is a school of thought that the beads or representative of the jewelry that was worn by royalty. People stand on the side of the road begging trinkets. "Throw me something Mister" is a phrase you can hear over and over again. If you catch the eye of a krewe member they will reward you by throwing a string of beads or more to you.
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.