A lively celebration enjoyed all around the world
by Emma, Courtney, and Dan
The Origins of Mardi Gras
Mardi Gras has origins that go back thousands of years to pagan spring and fertility rites.
An ancient roman festival that took place around in December to honor Saturn, full of merriment and excitement
Possibly pre-Roman, a pastoral festival that took place during February 13th-15th,
Used to “fight evil spirits"
Represented the arrival of spring and rebirth
When Christianity arrived in Rome, Christians decided to incorporate some pagan traditions like the wild excitement of these Roman festivals into the religion, as it was much easier than ending all pagan rituals
Ultimately Mardi Gras came to to take place of Lupercalia and is prior to Lent, a 40 day fast between Ash Wednesday and Easter.
Festivities of Mardi Gras
The Food of Mardi Gras
King Cake is a cinnamon filled french bread topped with sugar, and a surprise! There's usually a porcelain or plastic baby placed inside to symbolize luck and prosperity. Whoever finds the baby in their slice is named the King or Queen of the evening. They are also responsible for planning the next Mardi Gras party.
Gumbo is stock flavored dish that is usually filled with vegetables, and a meat or shellfish. it's usually served over rice. There's two types of gumbo - Cajun and Creole. Cajun has a dark roux (sauce mixture used in gumbo) and is also spicier than Creole gumbo. Creole gumbo is usually seafood, a thickener, and tomatoes.
Beignets are deep fried french pastries topped with powdered sugar. In New Orleans, they're usually eaten as a breakfast food. They're eaten right afte being prepared in order for them to stay fresh and hot.
Mardi Gras and the Carnival Season Today
- Today, Mardi Gras and it's traditions are upheld.
- Other than New Orleans, some U.S. cities that celebrate it include: Mobile, Alabama , St. Louis, Missouri , Galveston, Texas , and San Diego, California.
- Rio de Janiero also holds a celebration called Carnival
- New Orleans is the most well known celebration
-Involves various parades
-Most boisterous and risque parade/celebration is on the French Quarter
-Krewes run the festivities and post parties
- Mardi Gras Parades are a big part of the festivities.
- Elaborate Floats: included colorful animals and animated jesters
-Marching Bands playing Jazz music
- Krewes: organized groups which plan the parades and parties
-These groups name the King/Queens of the festival
- Oldest krewe named the Krewe of Comus
-Krewes throw beads at parades with their logos
-Example: A coveted prize thrown at the parades includes the hand-painted coconuts by the Krewe of Zulu
-Membership is selective
-The Krewes of Comus and Rex hold a meeting to mark the end of the celebration each year
- Exclusive Balls are still common
-Often very formal events
- Tableaux: Staged scenes of historic stories or myths presented at some balls
-Most balls are very exclusive and are by invitation only. Very few sell tickets to the public