Throw a Beat Into our Community: Mardi Gras

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Throw a Beat Into our Community: Mardi Gras

One of the Mardi Gras floats (The New Orleans Advocate).

One of the Mardi Gras floats (The New Orleans Advocate).

One of the Mardi Gras floats (The New Orleans Advocate).

One of the Mardi Gras floats (The New Orleans Advocate).

Sydney Douglas, Junior Editor

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This year, February 13th 2018, is the best and most interesting time to visit New Orleans!  On that date, the Mardi Gras (mahr-dee grah) festival is taking place on that date.  There’s parades, colorful costumes, delicious food, and unique traditions.  In this article, I will be writing about what is the Mardi Gras festival, some of the unique traditions, and weird facts about the Mardi Gras festival.

 

I did not know this but, the Mardi Gras is sort of a “Christian holiday or celebration”.  The reason why Christians celebrate the Mardi Gras, is because the festival is held before the Christian Ash Wednesday.  The festival is meant for people to celebrate before they have to give up something for the Lent season.  The Mardi Gras isn’t held on the same day every year, it just depends on the day of Easter.  Wikipedia states that,  the Mardi Gras is held either on the, “Day before Ash Wednesday, or 47 days before Easter”.  Other locations have Mardi Gras celebrations but, New Orleans has the most extravagant celebration!  Other names for the Mardi Gras are Fat Tuesday, Shrove Tuesday, and Pancake Tuesday.

 

Mardi Gras is all about parades, music, floats, and traditions!  Now, I will share a couple of the Mardi Gras traditions.  All of my information is from History Stories.  The first tradition is bead throwing.  Bead throwing started in 1872 when Russian Grand Duke Alexis visited Europe and his Krewes threw beads into the crowd and that tradition just stuck and is still happening today.  Now, the color of the necklaces have meaning; purple-justice, green-faith, and gold-power.  The tradition said that if you caught a necklace you would have good luck for one year.  The last tradition I will be talking about is the Zulu Coconuts.  Zulu Coconuts started in 1909 (inspired from African- American Krewes).  During the parades, floats used to throw out coconuts, but now the coconuts are handed to people to avoid injuries. 

 

Lastly, I will share some interesting facts about the Mardi Gras festival.  The official colors of the festival are green, gold, and purple, the colors come from the bead necklaces.  The first Mardi Gras parade in New Orleans was 1857, but New Orleans had celebrations on Fat Tuesday since 1837.  People who ride on a parade float, have to wear a mask, the reason is to avoid social constraint or restrictions.  Mardi Gras also marks the end of the carnival season.  The last day of carnival season is January 8th.  In some states that have big celebrations and parades consider Mardi Gras an official holiday, like Thanksgiving, Easter ,etc.

 

Going to see the Mardi Gras in New Orleans is now on my bucket list after doing this research project!  I never knew that Mardi Gras was a “Christian celebration”. Remember, if you are ever going to the Mardi Gras festival to book a hotel way Earlier than a week before the trip because a lot of places will be booked!