Mardi Gras – The king of New Orleans celebrations
The holiday of Mardi Gras is celebrated in Southern Louisiana, including the city of New Orleans.
But Mardi Gras is more in New Orleans. No one does Carnival like the Crescent City. Beginning on Twelfth Night, Jan. 6, the city is obsessed with eating, costuming, bead-tossing and parading that increases in intensity as Ash Wednesday nears. On the weekends leading up to Fat Tuesday, parades roll all over town.
Celebrations are concentrated for about two weeks before and through Shrove Tuesday, the day before Ash Wednesday (the start of lent in the Catholic tradition).
Usually there is one major parade each day. Many days have several large parades. The largest and most elaborate parades take place the last five days of the Mardi Gras season. In the final week, many events occur throughout New Orleans and surrounding communities, including parades and balls.
The parades in New Orleans are organized by social clubs – krewes. The earliest-established krewes were the Mistick Krewe of Comus, the earliest, Rex, the Knights of Momus and the Krewe of Proteus. Modern “super krewes” are known for holding large parades and events, such as the Krewe of Endymion , the Krewe of Bacchus, as well as the Zulu Social Aid & Pleasure Club, a predominantly African American krewe. Float riders traditionally toss throws into the crowds. The most common throws are strings of colorful plastic beads, doubloons (aluminum or wooden dollar-sized coins usually impressed with a krewe logo), decorated plastic “throw cups”, Moon Pies, and small inexpensive toys, but throws can also include lingerie and more sordid items. Experienced revelers know to bring a large bag with them so they can haul away all the beads and trinkets they will catch from the parades!
Mardi Gras is about music, parades, picnics, floats and excitement. It’s a big holiday in New Orleans!
Revelers know to wear costumes or at least dress in purple, green, and gold. They adorn themselves with long beads caught from the floats of previous parades. You’ll see a lot of crazy costumes, kids with their families are everywhere, and both locals and visitors having a great time.