viernes, 3 de junio de 2011

New Orleans Mardi Gras

According to Wikipedia....

Mardi Gras (Fat Tuesday in English) in New Orleans, Louisiana, is a Carnival celebration well-known throughout the world.
The New Orleans Carnival season, with roots in preparing for the start of the Christian season of Lent, starts after Twelfth Night, on Epiphany(January 6). It is a season of parades, balls (some of them masquerade balls), and king cake parties. It has traditionally been part of the winter social season; at one time "coming out" parties for young women at débutante balls were timed for this season.

The celebration of Mardi Gras was brought to Louisiana by early French settlers. The first record of the holiday being celebrated in Louisiana was at the mouth of the Mississippi River in what is now lower Plaquemines Parish, Louisiana, on March 3, 1699. Iberville, Bienville, and their men celebrated it as part of an observance of Catholic practice.

Traditional Colors
The traditional colors of Mardi Gras are purple, green, and gold. These colors are said to have been chosen by Grand Duke Alexis Alexandrovitch Romanoff of Russia during a visit to New Orleans in 1872.
Meaning of Colors
    Justice (purple)
    Power (gold)
    Faith (green)


Costumes and masks are seldom publicly worn by non-Krewe members on the days before Fat Tuesday (other than at parties), but are frequently worn on Mardi Gras Day. Laws against concealing one's identity with a mask are suspended for the day. Banks are closed, and some businesses and other places with security concerns (such as convenience stores) post signs asking people to remove their masks before entering.


Orleans Parish has laws prohibiting any form of commercial advertising on Carnival parades. Mardi Gras is a traditional holiday, so there is no such thing as an official Mardi Gras product or sponsor, any more than there can be, say, an official sponsor of Christmas. Nonetheless, many merchants sell so-called "official" merchandise to visiting tourists. A common con often played on tourist is a "ticket" to Mardi Gras. 

social clubs

Social clubs play a very large part in the Mardi Gras celebration as hosts of many of the parades on or around Mardi Gras Day. The two main Mardi Gras Day parades, Zulu and Rex, are both social club parades. Zulu is a mostly African-American club and Rex is mostly Caucasian.


One of the many Mardi Gras throws which krewes fling into the crowds, doubloons are large coins, either wood or metal, made in Mardi Gras colors. Artist H. Alvin Sharpe created the modern doubloon for The School of Design (the actual name of the Rex organization). 
Flambeau carriers
The flambeau ("flahm-bo" meaning flame-torch) was originally a carrier that served as a beacon for parade goers to better enjoy the spectacle of night festivities. The first flambeau carriers were slaves. 
King cake
The first week of January in New Orleans starts the King cake season. King cakes first appeared after 1872, when the Rex Krewe selected the Mardi Gras colors (purple, green and gold).

En of Each Mardi Gras
The formal end of Mardi Gras arrives with "the Meeting of the Courts", a term describing the ceremony at which Rex and His Royal Consort, the King and Queen of Carnival, meet with Comus and and his Queen at the ball of the Mistick Krewe of Comus, New Orleans' oldest active Carnival organization. The Meeting of the Courts happens at the conclusion of the two groups' masked balls, which in modern times have both been held at the New Orleans Municipal Auditorium. Since 2006, following Hurricane Katrina, the Ball has been held in the Marriott Hotel.

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