With apologies to Las Vegas, nobody knows how to party quite like they do down in New Orleans. Though the southern city has been through much heartbreak in recent years, it still celebrates Mardi Gras with abandon. The festival is coming to its annual close in the Big Easy. Before it does, folks want to know more about the party’s history, beads, and what exactly “Mardi Gras” means.
I did some browsing around the Web and learned that the festival started thousands of years ago. However, according to the experts at History.com, the first American Mardi Gras was celebrated on March 3, 1699 “near modern-day New Orleans.” Another website writes that “the earliest reference to Mardi Gras ‘Carnival’ appears in a 1781 report to the Spanish colonial governing body.” With few exceptions, the party hasn’t stopped since.
Among the many sights revelers can expect to see during Mardi Gras: ornate and unusual floats, lots of food (including pancakes), an avalanche of beads, and more than a few inebriated revelers. Anyone who took French 101 should be able to translate the actual phrase “Mardi Gras.” Literally, it means “Fat Tuesday,” the day before the season of Lent begins.
For more on the holiday, check out this list of FAQs from NOLA.com. It covers why everybody uses beads as currency, the history of the party’s official colors, and whether or not Mardi Gras is “really a Pagan holiday.” Good reading.
Do you guys have any favorite memories or experiences with Mardi Gras? Great time or overcrowded nightmare? Please leave a comment below.
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