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Mardi Gras
(Also known as Shrove Tuesday or Fat Tuesday)
Mardi Gras(Also known as Shrove Tuesday or Fat Tuesday)
Costumed musicians, New Orleans
Type Local, cultural, Catholic
Significance Celebration prior to fasting season of Lent.
Celebrations Parades, parties
Related to Carnival

The terms "Mardi Gras" (pronounced /ˈmɑrdi ɡrɑː/), "Mardi Gras season", and "Carnival season",[1][2][3][4][5][6] in English, refer to events of the Carnival celebrations, beginning on or after Epiphany and ending on the day before Ash Wednesday. Mardi Gras is French for "Fat Tuesday" (in ethnic English tradition, Shrove Tuesday), referring to the practice of the last night of eating richer, fatty foods before the ritual fasting of the Lenten season, which started on Ash Wednesday. Related popular practices were associated with celebrations before the fasting and religious obligations associated with the penitential season of Lent. Popular practices included wearing masks and costumes, overturning social conventions, dancing, sports competitions, parades, etc. Similar expressions to Mardi Gras appear in other European languages sharing the Christian tradition. In English, the day is called Shrove Tuesday, associated with the religious requirement for confession before Lent begins.

In many areas, the term "Mardi Gras" has come to mean the whole period of activity related to the celebratory events, beyond just the single day. In some US cities, it is now called "Mardi Gras Day" or "Fat Tuesday".[1][2][3][4][5][6] The festival season varies from city to city, as some traditions consider Mardi Gras the entire period between Epiphany or Twelfth Night and Ash Wednesday.[7] Others treat the final three-day period before Ash Wednesday as the Mardi Gras.[8] In Mobile, Alabama, Mardi Gras-associated social events begin in November, followed by mystic society balls on Thanksgiving,[7][9] then New Year's Eve, followed by parades and balls in January and February, celebrating up to midnight before Ash Wednesday. In earlier times parades were held on New Year's Day.[7] Other cities famous for Mardi Gras celebrations include Rio de Janeiro in Brazil, Quebec City, Quebec in Canada; Mazatlan in Mexico; and New Orleans, Louisiana in the United States. Many other places have important Mardi Gras celebrations as well.

Carnival is an important celebration in Catholic European nations. In the United Kingdom and Ireland, the week before Ash Wednesday is called "shrovetide", ending on Shrove Tuesday. It has its popular celebratory aspects as well. Pancakes are a traditional food. Pancakes and related fried breads or pastries made with sugar, fat and eggs are also traditionally consumed at this time in many parts of Latin America and the Caribbean.

Contents

Belgium

In the Belgian city of Binche the Mardi Gras festival is the most important day of the year and the summit of the Carnival of Binche. Around 1000 Gilles can be found dancing throughout the city from morning till well past dusk, whilst traditional carnival songs play. In 2003, the "Carnival of Binche" was proclaimed one of the Masterpieces of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity by UNESCO.

Brazil

The Carnival is an annual pre-Lenten celebration in Brazil. The cities of Recife and Salvador are well-known for their Carnival but the most notable is the one held in Rio de Janeiro. By Carnival's end on Mardi Gras, millions of people will have attended the festivities[10][11][12].

Recife

2007 Carnival at Pátio de São Pedro square, in Recife

Recife's Carnival is nationally known and attracts thousands of people every year. The party starts a week before the official date, with electric trios "shaking" the Boa Viagem district. On Friday, people take to the streets to enjoy themselves to the sound of frevo and to dance with maracatu, ciranda, caboclinhos, afoxé, reggae and Mangue Bit groups. There is entertainment throughout the city, such as when more than a million people follow the Galo da Madrugada group. On Sunday the Pátio do Terço is the sight of Noite dos Tambores Silenciosos, where maracatus honor slaves that died in prison.

Rio de Janeiro

Mangueira samba school parades in Rio de Janeiro

Rio de Janeiro has many Carnival choices, including the famous Escolas de Samba (Samba schools) parades in the sambódromo exhibition centre and the popular 'blocos de carnaval', which parade in almost every corner of the city. The most famous parades are the Cordão do Bola Preta with traditional carnival parades in the centre of the city, the Suvaco do Cristo parades in the Botanic Garden, Carmelitas parades in the hills of Santa Teresa, the Simpatia é Quase Amor is one of the most popular parades in Ipanema, and the Banda de Ipanema which attracts a wide range of revelers, including families and a wide spectrum of the gay population (notably spectacular drag queens).

Salvador

According to the Guinness Book, the carnival or Carnaval of Salvador de Bahia is the biggest street party on the planet. For an entire week, almost two million people join the city's street celebrations, which are divided into circuits: Barra/Ondina, Campo Grande and Pelourinho. The music played during Carnaval includes Axé and Samba-reggae. Many "blocos" participate in Carnaval, the "blocos afros" like Malé Debalé, Olodum and Filhos de Gandhi being the most famous of them.

Canada

Mardi Gras celebrations are common throughout the country, especially in major cities like Toronto, Vancouver, and Montreal.

Quebec

French-speaking Quebec is the province where Mardi Gras is most widely celebrated in Canada. Quebec City and Montreal hold Mardi Gras celebrations, with events such as music festivals, comedy festivals, food festivals, and street parties.[13]

Quebec City is also famous for the Quebec Winter Carnival, which usually starts on the first Friday of January and continues for 17 days. With close to one million participants, it has grown to become the largest winter celebration in the world.[14] Festival events include a winter amusement park, with attractions such as skiing, snow rafting, and snow sled-slides.

Caribbean nations

Mardi Gras Papier-mâché masks, Jacmel, Haiti.

In the Caribbean, Carnival is celebrated on a number of islands: Antigua, Aruba, Barbados, Bonaire, Curaçao, Dominica,Dominican Republic, Grenada, Guadeloupe, Guyana, Haiti, Jamaica, Puerto Rico, Saint Kitts and Nevis, St. Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, St. Martin, Suriname, Trinidad and Tobago and United States Virgin Islands are some of the celebrants.

Colombia

Several Colombian cities celebrate carnivals in the period between Twelfth Night and Mardi Gras. The most important of these celebrations is Barranquilla's Carnival (Spanish: Carnaval de Barranquilla), which starts on the Saturday before Ash Wednesday and ends on Mardi Gras. The roots of Barranquilla's Carnival date back to the 19th century, and is reputed for being second in size to Rio's, but is far less commercialized. The Carnival of Barranquilla was proclaimed by UNESCO, in November 2003, as one of the Masterpieces of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity.

Croatia

The celebration is known under names Karneval, Mesopust, Poklade or Fasnik, depending on the region. The most famous event is the Rijeka Carnival, one of the biggest carnivals in the world.

Denmark

In Denmark a similar celebration is called Fastelavn. Fastelavn has evolved from the Roman Catholic tradition of celebrating in the days before Lent. After Denmark became a Protestant nation, the holiday became less specifically religious.

This holiday occurs seven weeks before Easter Sunday and is sometimes described as a Nordic Halloween, with children dressing up in costumes and gathering treats for the Fastelavn feast. The holiday is generally considered to be a time for children's fun and family games. The term "Fastelavn" is a Low Saxon loanword imported from Northern Germany: Fastelavend [ˈfastl̩.ˌɒːvm̩t], Fastelabend [ˈfastl̩.ˌɒːbm̩t], and Fastlaam (also spelled Fastlom) [ˈfastl̩ɒːm], related to Low Saxon Vastelaovend in the eastern parts of the Netherlands and to Dutch Vastenavond.

France

Float representing the 2007 Nice Carnaval King, Jacques Chirac

The city of Nice, France records that in the year of 1294, the Comte de Provence Charles II, Duc d’Anjou began taking his holidays in Nice to take part in the festivities of Carnival. These included balls, masquerades, bonfires, jugglers, mimes, and more. All that was required to take part was a costume and a mask. So much revelry was had that even the church could not control the more obscene aspects. The city's records, however, show that the celebration hit a high note in the period of time they call the Belle Époque, in the late 19th century to early 20th century before the World Wars.

The city of Nice celebrates Carnaval, with events over two weeks and celebrating Mardi Gras on the last day. The Nice Carnaval has parades of flower-covered floats and brilliant night-time light displays.[15]

Other French cities also hold Carnavals.

Germany

The celebration of Mardi Gras in Germany is called Karneval, Fastnacht, or Fasching.[16] Fastnacht means "Eve of the Beginning of the Fast", and is celebrated the day before Ash Wednesday.

The most famous parades are held in Cologne, Mainz, and Düsseldorf on the Monday before Ash Wednesday, called Rosenmontag.

Guatemala

The main celebration of Carnival in Guatemala is an eight-day celebration in Mazatenango.

India

In Goa, India, a former Portuguese Catholic colony until 1961, the Carnival is celebrated for three days culminating on Fat Tuesday.

In Kerala State, the carnival parade is called Rasa[citation needed] (fun in Sanskrit) and happens on the night before Ash Wednesday. There are typically no masks in the celebration, unlike in Goa.

Italy

Carnevale is the traditional pre-Lenten celebration in Italy. This is a time of merry-making, masquerade processions, masked balls, parades, pageants, jugglers, magicians, stilt walkers, elegant costumes and opulent masks, singing and dancing, fireworks, and outdoor feasts in the weeks prior to Ash Wednesday. Carnevale is a time of indulgence (and the last chance to eat meat) before Ash Wednesday, which signals the penance and fasting of Lent. Carnevale occurs all throughout Italy, where every city, town, and village celebrates its own traditional customs. Places such as Viareggio, Ivrea, Sciacca, Napoli, Roma, Calabria and Venezia have unique and elaborate celebrations that are world-famous.

The festivities of the last days of carnevale are the most intense as they culminate on Martedí Grasso (Mardi Gras or Shrove Tuesday). There are traditional foods and dolci (sweets) distinctively associated with carnevale, including fritelle, crespelle, sfingi, castagnole, cenci, nodi, chiacchere, bugie, galani, fritole, berlingaccio, sanguinaccio and tortelli, among others.

This children’s poem/song tells of how during Carnevale anything goes, referring to the games, jokes or tricks of the festa.

A Carnevale, ogni scherzo vale, evviva, evviva il Carnevale ! a Carnevale, ogni scherzo vale evviva, evviva il Carnevale! Cantiam, balliamo è Carnevale, ma.... Domani a scuola (purtroppo) si deve andare e studiare... A Carnevale, ogni scherzo vale evviva, evviva il Carnevale!

In Milan Mardi Gras is not the climax of Carnival, since the Carnival lasts four more days, ending on the Saturday after Ash Wednesday, because of the Ambrosian rite. The last day of Carnival, therefore, is the "Sabato grasso" (Shrove or Fat Saturday).

The most famous Carnivals in Italy are those held in Venice, Viareggio, Ivrea, Cento, Putignano, Bordighera and the "Sartiglia" in Oristano.

Venice

Venetian shop window with Carnival masks

Venice is home to one of the most famous Carnival celebrations in the world, in addition to one of the oldest. The Carnival of Venice (or Carnevale di Venezia in Italian) was first recorded in 1268. The subversive nature of the festival is reflected in the many laws created over the centuries attempting to restrict celebrations and often banning the wearing of masks.

Masks have always been a central feature of the Venetian carnival; traditionally people were allowed to wear them between the festival of Santo Stefano (St. Stephen's Day, at the start of the Carnival season, and midnight of Shrove Tuesday). As masks were also allowed during Ascension and from October 5 to Christmas, people could spend a large proportion of the year in disguise and hide their behavior from being known.[17].

Maskmakers (mascherari) enjoyed a special position in society, with their own laws and their own guild. In 1797 Venice became part of the Austrian-held Kingdom of Lombardy-Venetia when Napoleon signed the Treaty of Campo Formio. After the Austrians took control of the city on January 18, 1798, it fell into a decline that effectively brought Carnival celebrations to a halt for almost two centuries. Carnival was outlawed by Benito Mussolini's Fascist government in the 1930s and 1940s. The founding of a modern mask shop in the 1980s helped bring about the revival of Carnival in Venice.[18]

Netherlands

In the Netherlands you also have a festival that is similar to Mardi Gras. It's called Carnaval and is almost the same as the Venice Carnival. The meaning of the word Carnaval is 'Carne Vale' which means: Goodbye to the meat in Latin. It marks the beginning of the sacred period that leads to Easter.

The real festival is held in the southern provinces of the Netherlands, which are Limburg & Noord-Brabant. The rest of the country celebrates it too, but not like its origin.

Panama

Carnival is celebrated in several Panamanian cities, such as Las Tablas, Ocu, Chitre, Penenomé and Panama City. Carnival in this country is characterized by the soaking of people mainly via the use of water trucks and hoses. The celebrations tend to last through a four-day holiday weekend.

Spain

In Spain it is called Carnaval. The Carnival in Santa Cruz de Tenerife is the second most recognized carnival in Spain, after the Carnaval de Cádiz. They are generally celebrated in the month of February and tied to the Catholic holy days of Mardi Gras and Ash Wednesday. In Tenerife during two weeks the Murgas take place and sing burlesque songs, the Queen of Carnival is elected within this time. In Cádiz, the carnival is characterized by groups of street musicians, Comparsas and Chirigotas who spent an entire year preparing their musical numbers to compete for the first price at the carnival in the Great Teatro Falla.

Sweden

In Sweden the celebration is called Fettisdagen. It comes from the word "fett" (fat) and "tisdag" (Tuesday). Originally, this was the only day one should eat semlor (skinny Tuesday buns). These are now sold in most grocery stores and bakeries preceding the holiday, and up until Easter.

United States

Mardi Gras 2009 Celebrations in the French Quarter, New Orleans, Louisiana USA (Picture taken outside Molly's Pub on Decatur Street)

While not observed nationally throughout the United States, a number of traditionally ethnic French cities and regions in the country have notable celebrations. Mardi Gras arrived in North America as a French Catholic tradition with the Le Moyne brothers,[19] Pierre Le Moyne d'Iberville and Jean-Baptiste Le Moyne de Bienville, in the late 17th century, when King Louis XIV sent the pair to defend France's claim on the territory of Louisiane, which included what are now the U.S. states of Alabama, Mississippi, and Louisiana.[19]

The expedition, led by Iberville, entered the mouth of the Mississippi River on the evening of March 2, 1699, Lundi Gras. They did not yet know it was the river explored and claimed for France by René-Robert Cavelier, Sieur de La Salle in 1683. The party proceeded upstream to a place on the west bank about 60 miles downriver from where New Orleans is today, and made camp. This was on March 3, 1699, Mardi Gras, so in honor of this holiday, Iberville named the spot Point du Mardi Gras (French: "Mardi Gras Point") and called the nearby tributary Bayou Mardi Gras. Bienville went on to found the settlement of Mobile, Alabama in 1702 as the first capital of French Louisiana.[20] In 1703 French settlers in Mobile began the Mardi Gras celebration tradition.[19][21][22] By 1720, Biloxi had been made capital of Louisiana. The French customs had already accompanied colonists who settled there.[19]

In 1723, the capital of Louisiana was moved to New Orleans, founded in 1718.[20] The tradition has expanded to the point that it became strongly associated with the city in popular perception, and embraced by residents of New Orleans beyond those of French or Catholic heritage. Mardi Gras celebrations are part of the basis of the slogan, Laissez les bon temps rouler, (Let the good times roll) and the nickname "Big Easy".[19] Mobile, Alabama, the former capital of New France, also has a long tradition of celebrating Mardi Gras. Other cities along the Gulf Coast formerly occupied and owned by the French from Pensacola, Florida, and its suburbs to Lafayette, Louisiana, have active Mardi Gras celebrations. In the rual Acadiana area, many Cajuns celebrate with the Courir de Mardi Gras, a tradition that dates to medieval celebrations in France.[23] In more recent times several other U.S. cities without a French heritage have instituted a kind of Mardi Gras celebration; for instance, the UETA Jamboozie festival is held late January in Laredo, Texas.

See also

References

  1. ^ a b In Australia, Mardi Gras season: "NSW: Mardi Gras still alive and well, say organisers", encyclopedia.com, 2003, webpage: ency-596.
  2. ^ a b In London, Mardi Gras season: "Paul's Pastry Shop kneads a ton of dough in Picayune", Allbusiness.com, 2008, webpage: Allbusiness-35.
  3. ^ a b In New Orleans, Mardi Gras season: "Mardi Gras in New Orleans | Metro.co.uk", Metro.co.uk, 2009, webpage: Metro.co.uk-2315.
  4. ^ a b In Mobile, Mardi Gras season: "New Orleans has competition for Mardi Gras", USATODAY.com, February 2006, webpage: USATODAY-com-mardi.
  5. ^ a b In San Diego, Mardi Gras season: "sandiego.com - Mardi Gras in San Diego: FAQ's", SanDiego.com, 2008, webpage: SanDiego.com-SD.
  6. ^ a b In Texas, Mardi Gras season: "Let’s Celebrate: Mardi Gras 2008", Southernbyways.com, January 2008, webpage: southernbyways-com-TX.
  7. ^ a b c ""Mardi Gras Terminology"". "Mobile Bay Convention & Visitors Bureau". http://www.mobile.org/vis_mardigras_terms.php. Retrieved 2007-11-18. 
  8. ^ The Season of Lent
  9. ^ "Mobile Carnival Association, 1927", MardiGrasDigest.com, 2006, webpage: mardigrasdigest-Mobile.
  10. ^ Carnival brought half a million tourists (to Bahia)
  11. ^ Galo da Madrugada takes one million people to Recife (Pernambuco)
  12. ^ Bola Preta brings one million to the streets of Rio (Rio de Janeiro)
  13. ^ Flirting with Montreal - The Globe and Mail
  14. ^ "Statistics", Quebec Winter Carnival (Carnaval de Québec), http://www.carnaval.qc.ca/statistics.html, retrieved 2009-01-14 
  15. ^ Histoire et tradition - Carnaval
  16. ^ http://www.serve.com/shea/germusa/karneval.htm
  17. ^ [1]
  18. ^ Venice Carnival / Carnevale of Venice 2008
  19. ^ a b c d e "New Orleans & Mardi Gras History Timeline" (event list), Mardi Gras Digest, 2005, webpage: MG-time.
  20. ^ a b "Timeline 18th Century:" (events), Timelines of History, 2007, webpage: TLine-1700-1724: on "1702-1711" of Mobile.
  21. ^ "Mardi Gras in Mobile" (history), Jeff Sessions, Senator, Library of Congress, 2006, webpage: LibCongress-2665.
  22. ^ "Mardi Gras" (history), Mobile Bay Convention & Visitors Bureau, 2007, webpage: MGmobile.
  23. ^ "Mardi Gras in Rural Acadiana". http://web.lsue.edu/acadgate/mardmain.htm. 

External links


Travel guide

Up to date as of January 14, 2010
(Redirected to New Orleans Mardi Gras article)

From Wikitravel

This article is a travel topic.

Mardi Gras or Carnival Time is the biggest celebration in New Orleans, Louisiana. The yearly festival includes numerous events throughout the city, and is known as the biggest free party on earth.

Costumed musicians in the French Quarter, Mardi Gras
Costumed musicians in the French Quarter, Mardi Gras

The festival is rooted in the ancient European Carnival traditions. It marks the final celebrations before the period of fasting during Lent in the Roman Catholic Religion, although New Orleans Carnival is enjoyed by people of any belief.

For locals, "Mardi Gras" strictly speaking is only the last and biggest day of the Carnival season, "Fat Tuesday". Visitors less clear on this distinction sometimes call the whole New Orleans Carnival season "Mardi Gras". The final big day is thus sometimes called by the (technically redundant) name "Mardi Gras Day".

After spotty earlier festivities, parades roll most nights starting 2 weekends before Mardi Gras. Things kick into high gear the weekend before Mardi Gras, when the population of New Orleans more than doubles (book a room well in advance!). There's an all day party along the riverfront downtown on Lundi Gras ("Fat Monday", the day before Mardi Gras) followed by more parades that evening, and just when you think things couldn't get more wild, the climax of Mardi Gras takes Carnival to an entirely new level.

Wearing a mask or costume on Mardi Gras Day is highly recommended by Mardi Gras veterans; one becomes part of the party, rather than just watching it. Veterans also start the party on Mardi Gras morning, even if you aren't usually a morning person. Mardi Gras officially ends promptly at midnight Tuesday.

The next day is Ash Wednesday (nicknamed locally "Trash Wednesday" from the debris left in the streets from the parties), the start of Lent. Wearing Mardi Gras beads during Lent will mark you as a tourist; time to take them off.

  • 2008 - 5 February
  • 2009 - 24 February
  • 2010 - 16 February
  • 2011 - 8 March
  • 2012 - 21 February
  • 2013 - 12 February
  • 2014 - 4 March

Parades

Mardi Gras parades are a big attraction. Many locals have their favorites and by not following the crowds, you can often get a better perspective on the Big Easy.

The parades are put on by private organizations known as "krewe"s; they do not receive any government or corporate sponsorship.

Watching a parade in New Orleans is a participatory party; crowds dance to the music of the bands and clamour for "throws". Throws are the trinkets thrown from krewe members on the floats to the crowd, including plastic beads and cups (often decorated with the emblem of the krewe), "dubloons" - small aluminum discs like a souvenir coin, and various toys and gee-gaws.

Pick up the Mardi Gras Guide magazine, or consult the newspapers for parade schedules and routes. Note that many of the smaller parades, marching krewes, neighborhood pageants, Mardi Gras Indians, etc are usually not listed in these schedules.

The majoritiy of the parades follow a standard route, starting Uptown at Napoleon Avenue and going down St. Charles Avenue to the Central Business District then on to Canal Street at the upper border of the French Quarter.

There are sizable parades two weekends before Mardi Gras, then every night starting the Wednesday before Mardi Gras. There are also several parades in a row during the day the Saturday and Sunday before Mardi Gras. The parades on Mardi Gras Day are in the morning and mid day.

  • Endymion - Saturday night before Mardi Gras. An exception to the standard Uptown route, Endymion starts in Mid City and travels along Canal Street to the Central Business District, traveling St. Charles only the sort distance up to Lee Circle in the opposite direction from the other parades. Endymion 2008 is the first parade to return to the Mid City route since Katrina.
  • Bacchus - Sunday night before Mardi Gras. Krewe of Bacchus features national celebrity monarchs each year, and draws hundreds of thousands of visitors. (read crowded)
  • Orpheus - Monday night before Mardi Gras, known as "Lundi Gras" ("Fat Monday). Musician oriented krewe, Harry Connick Jr. is the krewe captain.
  • Zulu - Mardi Gras morning The Zulu Social Aid & Pleasure Club parade is well known for its interesting history (it originated almost 100 years ago as an African American organization satirizing the White krewes during the era of racial segregation) and "golden nugget" (coconut) parade throws. Note: Zulu follows the Uptown route only from Jackson Avenue to Canal Street, not the portions of St. Charles further Uptown.
  • Rex - Mardi Gras evening. Founded in 1872, "Rex...King of Carnival" has been the international symbol of New Orleans Mardi Gras since the krewe first appeared. Rex was the first krewe to hold an organized daytime Parade and remains the main event parade of Mardi Gras.

Other parades of interest

The nights of the week leading up to Mardi Gras, in addition to the days on the weekend before Mardi Gras, have numerous parades. In addition to the parades on the standard routes, interesting off-beat parades include:

  • Krewe du Vieux - 3 Saturdays before Mardi Gras, the earliest parade in the New Orleans Carnival calendar is noted for satirical and off color floats and costumes. Parades around the French Quarter and Faubourg Marigny neighborhoods.
  • Barkus: - 2 weekends before Mardi Gras the official unofficial dog parade in the French Quarter. Dogs and their humans parade in costume; too fun, usually early in parade season before most tourists arrive. A non-profit organization, it raises funds every year to benefit local animal shelters and national humane societies.

Small krewes

There are dozens of small neighborhood krewes and walking clubs, including:

  • Society of Saint Anne - Marching club through the Bywater, Marigny, and French Quarter neighborhoods on Mardi Gras morning, with some of the most elaborate and creative costumes seen.
  • Krewe of Kosmic Debris - one of the most informal krewes; if you play a portable musical instrument you can show up in costume and jam on Dixieland standards as the Kosmic Debris roams from bar to bar in the French Quarter, starting on Frenchmen Street at noon Mardi Gras Day.
  • The Completely Mystick Krewe of Chartreuse marches on Fat Tuesday. Headed by the strangest folk in living history, do not miss the parade named in honor of the liquor made from over 130 plants and herbs by Carthusian Monks. In the morning, search for the green and gold globe and crux banner on St Charles Avenue as it heads toward the French Quarter, or find us later in the Quarter proper. This will not be in other tour books and is so drunken and raucous you will run home crying if you're not careful. You have been warned.
  • KOE - the first of the walking krewes organized on the Internet. Found in the Quarter on Mardi Gras, originally "Krewe of Elvis"; 10th Anniversary in 2008
  • Jefferson City Buzzards - the oldest traditional walking krewe; men from a working class neighborhood of Uptown have been drinking lots of beer and giving out flowers to pretty gals in exchange for a kiss while parading downtown every year since 1890.
  • Krewe of Dreux - one of the largest alternative Mardi Gras celebrations, out in Gentilly on the Saturday afternoon before Mardi Gras.
  • Pete Fountain's Half Fast Marching Club headed by the city's most famous Dixieland clarinetist who leads his band on a small float, the Half Fast wind through uptown down to the Quarter on Mardi Gras.

Other events

Mardi Gras Indians, Bourbon Street, Lundi Gras in Waldenburg Park, Arrival of Kings of the Zulus and Rex, costume parties, balls, block parties

Family-friendly Mardi Gras

While some visitors think of Mardi Gras as a "Girls Gone Wild" event, most of the city's Mardi Gras celebration is kid-friendly family fun. Stay away from the rowdies on Bourbon Street; catch the parades Uptown on Saint Charles Avenue anywhere above Lee Circle up to Napoleon Avenue (Note: on Mardi Gras Day, Zulu parades only on the portion of the route from Jackson Avenue down). Most kids love the excitement of catching the beads; for safety just make sure they don't try to run up too close to the floats. On Lundi Gras (the Monday before Mardi Gras), the festivities in Waldenberg Park (along the Mississippi by the upper French Quarter just below Canal Street) includes a children's stage. On Mardi Gras dress the family in matching costumes to be thrown extra beads and have extra fun.


Wiktionary

Up to date as of January 15, 2010

Definition from Wiktionary, a free dictionary

Contents

English

Etymology

Borrowed from French mardi gras (= fat Tuesday)

Noun

Mardi Gras

  1. The day, also known as Shrove Tuesday, when traditionally all fat and meat in the house were finished up, before Christians were banned from eating them during Lent, which commenced the following day on Ash Wednesday.
    • 1839 (UK), Marguerite Blessington, The idler in Italy, Henry Colburn, p. 299,
      Mardi-gras was ushered in with various ceremonies, offering a strange mixture of devotion and profaneness.
    • 1847 (UK), John Macgregor, The Progress of America: From the Discovery by Columbus to the Year 1846, Whittaker & Co., p. 88,
      Dancing, fiddling, and feasting at Christmas and on Mardi-gras, before Lent, and feasting at or after Easter, are among their amusements or indulgences.
    • 2007 (US), Ace Collins, Stories Behind the Traditions And Stories of Easter, Zondervan, ISBN 0310263158, p. 113,
      Today's wild Mardi Gras parades are much different than the original, more religious events of the Middle Ages.
  2. The last day of a carnival, traditionally the celebration immediately before the start of Lent when joy would be out of place for Christians.
    • 1823 (UK), Thomas Tryatall, The Parisian Carnival, read in The New Monthly Magazine, and Literary Journal, Oliver Everett, p. 90,
      "Masks!" exclaimed I; "why, it isn't carnival time, is it?" "To be sure 'tis," replied he, "dis is Mardi gras, de gayest of de gay days. Noting but pleasure, and fun, and hosh-posh."
    • 1825 (UK), Thomas Colley Grattan, The Vouée au Blanc read in High-Ways and By-Ways, or, Tales of the Roadside: Picked Up in the French Provinces by a Walking Gentleman: Second Series: Volume III, Henry Colburn, p. 80,
      Every body knows what an important epoch Mardi Gras forms in the annual enjoyments of the French. It is the last day of the carnival gaieties, and that which precedes the gloominess of Lent.
    • 1832 (UK), Georgina Alicia L, Chantilly, Vol. III, Edward Bull, p. 214,
      Who could have believed, that saw her on the night of the Mardi Gras amid the revels at the Palace, seemingly joyous and happy as youth and innocence could make her, far excelling in loveliness all the fair dames gathered round her, that envy and hatred, and hot desire of revenge, were all hid beneath that seemingly guileless smile and treacherous abandon?
    • 2006 (US), Kristin G. Congdon, Tina Bucuvalas, Just Above the Water: Florida Folk Art, University Press of Mississippi, ISBN 1578067782, p. 6,
      As a result, Mardi Gras, the culmination of the Carnival season pre-ceding Lent, is observed in Pensacola.
    • 2007 (Australia), Ryan ver Berkmoes, Western Europe, Lonely Planet, ISBN 1741042348, p. 1007,
      The carnival moves through raucous celebrations climaxing on Mardi Gras (Fat Tuesday), and is over on Ash Wednesday.
  3. A carnival.
    • 1868 (US), Charles Swett, A Trip to British Honduras, and to San Pedro, Republic of Honduras, Dollar Price, p. 70,
      Mardi Gras has been in operation here for the past two weeks, and on Monday last the Trudor sports should have commenced.
    • 2007 (Australia), Paul Smitz, Berry Blake, Australian Language & Culture, Lonely Planet, ISBN 1740590996, p. 101,
      SYDNEY GAY & LESBIAN MARDI GRAS Not just a famously spectacular parade and an all-night dance party in Oxford Street, this is a month-long festival in February that also features theatre, art, photography and music in a celebration of gay and lesbian life.

Synonyms


French

See mardi gras


Simple English

Mardi Gras (Fat Tuesday) is a festival held the day before Ash Wednesday, signifying the end of the Carnival season and the start of Lent. Many cities (especially those with large Catholic populations) like New Orleans are famous for their Mardi Gras.

During Mardi Gras, almost everyone takes part in celebrating with lavish parades and parties. Many different people celebrate Mardi Gras in their own way, some people have small parties and eat many of the tasty pastries and some people have huge parties and celebrate in a big way. Some of the pastries they eat are called king's cake, hot cross buns, punchskis, tricolor scrolls and thick sugar cookies. There are many more things that other people eat but these are the basic American ones. There are so many different parades and kinds of celebrations.








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