About This Site
This may be a good place to introduce yourself and your site or include some credits.
Let the Good Times Roll
What’s green, yellow, purple, and parties all day long? Mardi Gras! This past Tuesday, February 28 was Mardi Gras, also known as Fat Tuesday. On this day, people celebrate all day long, eat feasts of food, and participate in all sorts of colorful activities, such as parades, masquerades, and dancing. Symbolically, Fat Tuesday, or Mardi Gras, is used as one last hurrah before having to give something up for Lent, right before Ash Wednesday.
You may have also heard of Carnival, another interpretation for Mardi Gras. Carnival can just be another name and is mostly celebrated in the Caribbean, such as Haiti, the Bahamas, Trinidad, St. Lucia, and some countries in South America, most prominent in Brazil. The word carnival actually means “farewell to flesh/meat” and is the celebration leading up to Fat Tuesday. Regardless, the holiday is just as exciting! Streets are filled with thrown-around streamers. Dancers cover themselves in elaborate costumes, made out of thousands of feathers and beads. People are running around filled with happiness, knowing that that day is the last day to let loose before a month of sacrifice.
Here are some fun facts about Carnival and Mardi Gras celebrations in Brazil, New Orleans, and the Caribbean Islands.
Brazil – In Brazil, it’s a week long party! All over the country, especially in the capital, Rio de Janeiro, you’ll see hundreds of block parades – but with a bit of twist. Brazil is interesting in that every year during Carnival, tons of local samba schools will actually participate in the parades. Samba is a Brazilian dance and music genre with some African influences. The tradition has been longstanding; samba schools line up and dance, but their performance usually tells a story, combining the talents of students, staff, and the band. Some years it also becomes a competition for the best samba school in the area.
New Orleans, Louisiana – If you’ve never been to New Orleans, it’s a must-see, especially during Mardi Gras season. In fact, since Mardi Gras has been celebrated for so long in the city and has been an obsessed tradition, Mardi Gras season can start as early as January, where parades and small celebrations may be held in small areas or private occasions. Otherwise, you’ll easily find masks, beads, and green/purple/yellow items sold all-year around. The city’s heavy French influence and party-like atmosphere on the infamous Bourbon Street keeps the Mardi Gras vibe going constantly.
New Orleans’ first Mardi Gras celebration started in 1857, after it was formed by a secret society called The Mistick Krewe of Comus. Secret societies, or krewes, still largely exist in the city, however like their name, they’re secret. Secret kings and queens of Mardi Gras can be elected, as well as the holding of secret coronation balls and inner circles meetings.
The Caribbean (Haiti, The Bahamas, Trinidad, Dominican Republic etc.) – Every country in the Caribbean has its own way of actually celebrating Carnival, from the food they eat to specific daily activities. What’s extremely interesting about Carnival are the amazingly intricate costumes, typically worn by women. No one costume is the same as another. Each one has its individuality to it, ranging from different diamonds, beads, feathers, wings, and must take hours and hours of work. Many women’s costumes are close to nude, symbolizing freedom and enjoyment.
*“Let the Good Times Roll” is a popular saying during the Mardi Gras season. It’s a symbol of excitement and letting loose during this celebration.