How Mardi Gras is Celebrated Today

Mardi Gras in New Orleans is unlike anything else that you will ever see. Traditionally, this is a Christian celebration. Nevertheless, it is a far cry from a humble event. These fun filled festivities take off every year, and preparation starts on the 6th of January with the Twelfth Night feast rolling consistently through Fat Tuesday. One secret is that Fat Tuesday is the English translation for the French word Mardi Gras.

Traditionally, Mardi Gras has a represents a day of praying and forgiveness.  However, while some may celebrate the religious aspect of the event, many are just attending the celebration to party and have a wild and unforgettable time. One thing is for certain—you should always expect the unexpected in New Orleans during Mardi Gras!

Security is thick during these festivities. You never know what you will see during the Mardi Gras events. Wild costumes combined with hundreds upon hundreds of people fill the streets with their drinks in hand. Police on horseback make their way through the crowd to try to maintain control of the situation. There are women on balconies flashing their breasts. Laughter and dancing will surround you with the sounds of Zydeco and the smells of creole cuisine in the air. It is defiantly an event you will never forget.

 

While there is plenty going on in the streets, the clubs in the area are putting on their own celebrations. New Orleans has some of the most unique and fun parties and clubs in the United States. This is a town that needs no celebration to attract tourists from all across the globe. There is nothing about the city or the celebrations that you will not love. New Orleans never sleeps. The culture is rich. This is a magical place full of nostalgia. Its history runs deep. There are all different types of shops along the streets as well, and some you may even find shocking with voodoo paraphernalia and other cultural tied novelties lining their shelves.

Mardi Gras is filled with non-stop events like balls, masquerades, parades, parties and celebrations around the clock. If you are planning the trip, it is highly advisable to book well in advance. If you want a balcony on Bourbon Street then you may even want to consider booking the year before, and do not forget your camcorder. This is something you are going to want to capture and preserve. While Mardi Gras parades are held in many cities around the nation, you have not actually been to Mardi Gras unless you have been to the New Orleans celebrations.

The History Behind Mardi Gras

What happens in New Orleans stays in New Orleans. Mardi Gras is a widely celebrated occasion that you have to attend to appreciate. Knowing the origins of the celebration just makes it all the better. Mardi Gras struggles through some tough times. It was even stopped on occasion. Like the city it thrives in Mardi Gras is resilient. It seemingly keeps coming back stronger that it was before.

Mardi Gras is a highly anticipated event. It is an amazing party that is very rich in history and culture. As generations pass it becomes viewed as a great event to attend with little to no knowledge of the history behind the celebration. With a story like the one behind Mardi Gras it is important to put the culture and knowledge back in to the celebrations that are taking place today.

Mardi Gras actually originated long before any European settlers ever laid eyes on the New Word. A celebration called Lupercaliawas recognized by Romans before they embraced Christianity. After the embracement of the religion changes were implemented to their carnival like celebration to allow Christians their own interpretation of the events. This birthed Mardi Gras which was introduced into American culture in 1699. It was not always the Mardi Gras we all know and love or long to attend.

Point du Mardi Gras was not located where the celebrations are today in New Orleans. It was very close though. Mardi Gras made its way first to Iberville on the rivers west bank. There is about a 60 mile difference from the location of today’s parades hosted in New Orleans.

Mardi Gras went through quite a few changes in the eighteenth century when the French rule turned to the Spanish. It was even outlawed! The masked balls and elaborate festivals were banned all together until the United States became the rulers of New Orleans in 1827. The creole people partitioned the governor to legalize their beloved events. He was moved by their pleas to make street masking legal again. Despite the issues that restricted the masking in the first place the governor allowed the events to resume legally.

The first parade held in the city streets took place in 1837. People were asking to have the celebrations ended due to violence and mayhem caused by some masked criminals. New Orleans citizens stepped up and saved the celebrations.

Six citizens who were experienced in overseeing large parades and events organized a safer event. It also turned out to be a more festive celebration. This is how the Mardi Gras as we now know it began.

The first queen of the Mardi Gras was recorded in 1871. This was also the introduction of the cake tradition.  She was paraded in the celebration with a cake that hid a treasured golden bean somewhere inside.

The first king of Mardi Gras came later with a visit from Russia’s Grand Duke Alexis Romanoff in 1872. With his introduction to the events the traditional gold, purple and green colors themed the event for the first time. Another tradition was born.

Mardi Gras may have seen its ups and downs through the dark years that consumed its existence and hurricane Katrina still it has always bounced back. It returned in 1919 only to struggle all the way through the 1930’s. It took off in the 40’s, and it had another setback with the hurricane. Its resilience prevailed making Mardi Gras one of the most loved and anticipated celebrations in the United States.