One Busy Guy Presents...
All About Mardi Gras!
Who could have imagined that New Orleans would one day be the victim of bureaucratic bungling, terrible timing and vicious storms... all at once! Every American longs for their speedy recovery!
Ever wonder how calendar makers agree on dates? Many of our modern religious holidays are linked directly to the equinoxes and to the moon phase. Easter is no exception, it is always observed on the first Sunday after the full moon following the vernal equinox (the first day of spring).
The Christian observance of Easter begins its' celebration with the onset of 'Lent'. Lent begins on a Wednesday (Ash Wednesday). It is a period of fasting that ends with the arrival of Easter some seven Sundays and 40 days later. So it follows that the Tuesday just before would be the final day of unbridled indulgence until the holiday is concluded. 'Fat Tuesday' as it is known would in French be termed 'Mardi Gras'!
The holiday we now celebrate has its roots way back in 1699. Three French nationals had established a camp some 60 miles south of New Orleans. They named their camp 'Point du Mardi Gras' to honor a major French holiday celebrated at this time (March 3) back home. Initially a small observance, it developed into costumed revelry until it was banned by the Spanish before 1803. Still the first parade was recorded in 1837.
Nearly everyone was wearing masks and the reckless partying eventually became so wild and unsafe that it had to be banned. Mardi Gras was in danger of extinction when six men known as the 'Mystick Krewe of Comus' put together the first New Orleans Carnival parade on the evening of Mardi Gras in 1857. They were able to orchestrate a safe observance and the holiday was to begin in earnest. Official colors of purple, gold and green were established. In 1872, with the visit of Russian Grand Duke Alexis Romanoff, the tradition of 'King of the Carnival' had begun.
Today the concept of 'Mardi Gras' is to Americans as appealing as the actual festival. The city of New Orleans is nationally renowned for its' fabulous food and unique Bourbon Street jazz. It is equally famous for its' large Creole population and for being perhaps the only major US City to exist below sea level.
Throw me something Mister!