It’s Mardi Gras Time!

18 Feb

Yes, it is February and that means it’s Mardi Gras time in New Orleans. But what a minute….you won’t see it on your February calendar, That’s because it is late this year. This is that one year out of eight that Mardi Gras falls in March! You know, from having been there or from news broadcasts, about the great parades that take place over Carnival. Here is some insight.
For years, the Mardi Gras tradition has centered around the krewes, which are groups that create elaborate costumes and beautiful floats for the Mardi Gras parades. The parade processions occur every year over the three or four weeks preceding Mardi Gras Day, or “Fat Tuesday”. The very first one was The Mystick Krewe of Comus in 1857. The krewes have historically participated in the parades and are, generally, leaders of New Orleans society. So all of them hold lavish balls and events, around New Orleans, during the carnival Season. The krewes used to be responsible for electing the King of Mardi Gras – Rex….but that tradition is no longer observed. However, The Krewe of Rex still has one of the largest parades, which rolls on Fat Tuesday, which is March 8 this year. The first parades this year were held on January 6: Jeanne d’Arc and Phunny Phorty Phellows. There are over 70 parades in all and the Carnival Season is capped off by these big and ever-popular processions: March 4: Morpheus; March 5: Iris, Tucks, Isis and Endymion; March 6: Thoth and Bacchus; March 7: Proteus, Zeus and Orpheus; March 8: Zulu and Rex. Many of the parades are local parish events, but all the major ones start in the outlying parishes and eventually make their way up and down Canal Street, on the West edge of the French Quarter.
Then there is this interesting tid-bit…..Krewe is nothing more than a fanciful spelling of the word crew….and has the same meaning. However, because of it’s association with Mardi Gras and New Orleans’ high society, the Carnival Krewes, as we know them, have taken on much of the mystique of Mardi Gras.


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