All About Mardi Gras Parades
When it comes to cities in the US that are full of life, history and culture, then New Orleans is at the top of the list. Located deep in the south, the weather is always good, and the buzz in the city is constant. The thing that the area is famous for around the world is its Mardi Gras parades. These occur every single year between Epiphany and Ash Wednesday, which fall in February, and are one of the biggest carnivals around. The carnival involves a lot of eating, and the term “Mardi Gras”, is French for “Fat Tuesday”. There is so much history involved in the Mardi Gras.
The parades continue for a full two weeks, and each day there are more of them. All of them will cater for families and friends, and it is a great opportunity to dress up and get involved in the event. Each carnival tends to focus on a theme, and the colors that are involved actually have meaning. For instance, gold symbolizes power, while green is associated with faith, and purple means justice. The tradition of these colors goes back to the start of the carnival way back in 1699, when the French brought it to the area.
The choice of what can be worn by people, whether they are participating in the actual carnival itself or just watching it, are endless. Some choose to not only dress up, but also to cover themselves with makeup, while others will wear masks. Dressing up as a well known superhero is an option, while the norm usually involves wearing bright colors. Masks can include anything, with animals and birds usually being the most popular. Of course, it is not essential to dress up, but it does make people feel more involved in the carnival.
Each parade is put together by a Krewe, which have a few basic rules to follow. The main one is that each parade must include floats or bands, although most will include both of them. While another is that a ball must be associated with each parade. Some of these Krewes date all the way back to the 1800’s. The Mardi Gras Indians are probably one of the oldest groups around today, and is made up of African Americans. While the Twelfth Night Revelers are another old group that stages its ball twelve nights after Christmas. Hermes is a group of businessmen, while Iris is a group from the largest ladies club in the area.
During each parade, the revellers involve the public by throwing them small toys, necklaces of beads, decorated plastic, and many other things. Part of the custom is to collect as many of these as possible, and wear what you can. Nowadays, many of the Krewes have their own signature toys and beads, and this makes them collectors items. During these parades, the local laws tend to be relaxed, but there are still boundaries that must not be broken. The Mardi Gras is an occasion full of fun and freedom, and is something that everyone must see at least once in their life.