Encyclopedia > Mardi Gras

  Article Content

Mardi Gras

Mardi Gras (French for "Fat Tuesday") is the day before Ash Wednesday, and is also called "Shrove Tuesday" or Carnival ("car-nee-VAHL" elsewhere but in New Orleans "CAR-na-val"). It is a celebration that is held just before the beginning of the Christian liturgical season of Lent.

Carnival's most famous city is Rio de Janeiro Brazil. Please expand on festivities. Like Rio, many other cities in Iberian and Ibero-American cultures have very important Carnival celebrations. Please list some.

New Orleans

New Orleans Mardi Gras is particularly well-known. The New Orleans Carnival season starts on Twelfth Night (which is the religious Feast of the Epiphany), January 6. The season of balls (some of them in costume) and King Cake[?] parties begin on that date, as well smaller parades. From about 2 weeks before Mardi Gras Day on, there is at least one good sized parade every day, which tend to get larger and more elaborate as Mardi Gras Day approaches. In the final week of Carnival numerous events large and small occur throughout New Orleans and surrounding communities. Many young tourists center their visits on a small portion of upper Bourbon Street and the French Quarter. The Mardi Gras celebrations include parades organized by Carnival Krewes. Krewe float riders toss throws to the crowds; the most common throws are strings of cheap colorful beads, dubloons (aluminium discs usually impressed with the Krewe logo), decorated plastic throw cups, and small inexpensive toys. To New Orleanians, Mardi Gras refers only to the final and most elaborate day of the Carnival Season; out of town visitors tend to refer to the entire Carnival as "Mardi Gras". Some locals have thus started to refer to the final day of Carnival as Mardi Gras Day (technically redundant) to avoid confusion.


Mardi Gras was brought to Louisiana by early French settlers. The first record of the holiday being marked in Louisiana is 1699. The starting date of festivities in New Orleans is unknown, but an account from 1743 notes that the custom of Carnival balls was already established by that date. Processions and masking in the streets on Mardi Gras Day took place, was sometimes prohibited by law, and quickly renewed whenever such restrictions were lifted or little enforced.

On Mardi Gras of 1857 the Mystick Krewe of Comus held it's first parade. This was neither(as has sometimes been mistakenly asserted) the begining New Orleans Mardi Gras nor the first New Orleans Mardi Gras parade, but it did usher in a new era of more organized Carnival festivities, it started a number of continuing traditions, and is considered the first Carnival Krewe in the modern sense.

The Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras in Sydney, Australia, is a well-known pride parade.

All Wikipedia text is available under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License

  Search Encyclopedia

Search over one million articles, find something about almost anything!
  Featured Article

... in the political process increased rapidly. The first direct elections for Africans to the Legislative Council took place in 1957. The Kenya African National ...

This page was created in 30.8 ms