Mardi Gras

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.

    • Sturnalia

      • An ancient roman festival that took place around in December to honor Saturn, full of merriment and excitement

  • Lupercalia

    • 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

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
    -Masked Balls
    - 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