Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Happy Mardi Gras!

"If no tourists came, we'd still have Mardi Gras. Mardi Gras is a state of mind." ~ Ed Muniz
As I served my hundredth table from Louisiana today I started to wonder about Mardi Gras....I don't really know that much about it. However, first and foremost, I think it's hilarious that so many people flock to this celebration while all the people who actually live in New Orleans leave in droves. How are you going to experience the culture of a city without the people who live there? That doesn't sound like much fun, does it? The people of New Orleans are a RIOT!

Secondly I realized that I don't know much about the celebration itself. I know that it has some sort of relation to Fat Tuesday (I had some delicious pancakes for dinner) and that there is a big parade and women show their breasts to get strands of colourful plastic beads. But what else is there? It couldn't of lasted this long if there wasn't a deeper significance. So I did some research and I thought I would share it with you all!

"The earliest reference to Mardi Gras "Carnival" appears in a 1781 report to the Spanish colonial governing body. That year, the Perseverance Benevolent & Mutual Aid Association is the first of hundreds of clubs and carnival organizations formed in New Orleans.
By the late 1830s, New Orleans held street processions of maskers with carriages and horseback to celebrate Mardi Gras. Newspapers began to announce Mardi Gras events in advance."
The Mardi Gras celebration in New Orleans includes fabulous floats, elaborate balls, costumes, King Cakes (made to celebrate the three wise men), parade throws (beads, dubloons, stuffed animals) and, unoffically of course, lots of drinking.
"New Orleans is my essence, my soul, my muse, and I can only dream that one day she will recapture her glory. I will do everything within my power to make that happen and to help in any way I can to ease the suffering of my city, my people!" ~ Harry Connick Jr.

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