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Mardi Gras Festival in New Orleans

Mardi Gras is a Christian holiday and a popular cultural phenomenon dating back thousands of years. It is celebrated in many Catholic countries the day before the beginning of the season of Lent. In New Orleans are the most famous festivities, annually attracting thousands of tourists.

Mardi Gras Festival in New Orleans - photo of carnival costumes - American ButlerWhat is Mardi Gras

Mardi Gras is a tradition dating back thousands of years. Mardi is the French word for tuesday, and gra means fat. In other words, "fat Tuesday".

In the days preceding Great Lent, people used to eat all the rich, fatty foods (meat, eggs, milk, lard, cheese), accumulating energy for the next few weeks of consuming only fish and lean foods.

The word "carnival", another common name for pre-fasting holidays, also comes from this tradition of feasting: in medieval Latin, "carnelevariy" means "to take away meat."

When Christianity came to Rome, religious leaders decided to incorporate these customs into the new faith, which was an easier task than their complete abolition.

As a result, Mardi Gras became the prelude to Lent, 40 days of fasting and repentance between the ashes of Wednesday and Easter Sunday.

Currently it is one of the most important carnivals in the United States, which collects several hundred thousand annually.

Story

The first American mardi gras took place March 3, 1699, when French explorers Pierre Le Moyne d'Iberville and Sierre de Bienville landed near modern New Orleans. They had a small party and named Point du Mardi Gras for their landing.

In the following decades, New Orleans and other French settlements began to celebrate the holiday with street parties, masked balls, and sumptuous dinners. However, when the Spaniards took control of New Orleans, they abolished these noisy rituals, and the prohibitions remained in force until Louisiana became a US state in 1812.

In 1827, a group of young people donned colorful costumes and danced through the streets of New Orleans, imitating the fun they saw while visiting Paris . Ten years later, the first recorded Mardi Gras parade took place. This tradition continues to this day.

At 1857 A secret society of businessmen from New Orleans called Mystic Crewe of Comus organized a Mardi Gras procession with marching orchestras and mobile platforms, setting the tone for future public celebrations in the city.

Since then, platforms and carts have remained an integral part of the carnival throughout Louisiana. Other custom includes throwing beads and other trinkets, wearing masks, painting platforms in motley colors and eating royal pie.

Data

  • Pope Gregory XIII added Mardi Gras to his calendar (yes, the Gregorian calendar was named after him) in 1582, on the eve of Ash Wednesday.
  • New Orleans was not the first place in the United States to celebrate Mardi Gras. It was Alabama.
  • Feast and masquerades, which are important parts of today's Mardi Gras celebration, may have originated from the ancient Roman festivals of Saturnalia and Lupercalia , but this is a matter for discussion.
  • During the celebration is prohibited to ride on the platform without a mask. The initial purpose of the mask was to rid society of social constraints for one day, allowing different classes and groups to communicate freely throughout the celebration.
  • With a huge number of tourists visiting New Orleans, combined with a large population of the city, the festival has become a huge part of the local economy. During one festival, the economy receives from 144 to 500 million dollars. The cost of staging the show is also high, some platforms cost more than $100,000.
  • Mardi Gras is unthinkable without purple, yellow and green beads, but why? The International Business Times declares that the head of the first carnival in 1872 chose these colors according to their meaning. Purple is justice, yellow is power, green is faith.
  • Lawmakers in louisiana in 1875 declared Mardi Gras official public holiday. It is also a public holiday in Alabama and Florida.
  • The celebration was canceled only a dozen times, in most cases due to the wars and outbreaks of yellow fever.
  • The signature royal pie is eaten all over the world during the carnival season. In the USA, it is traditionally decorated with icing and purple, green and yellow dressing, inside it is a small plastic baby Jesus. It is said that the one who finds him will have good luck throughout the year.
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