Mardi Gras is a treat celebrated all around the world, but there’s nowhere to celebrate it like New Orleans, Louisiana.
Celebrations for the holiday are concentrated for about two weeks before and through Shrove Tuesday, the day before Ash Wednesday, the start of lent in the Catholic tradition. For those two weeks, there is a major parade each day, with the last five days being the most celebrated of them all.
The largest and most elaborate floats and parades take place on these five days. Mardi Gras is a time for music, picnics, floats, and excitement. Those who choose to take place in this extravagant holiday know to dress from head to toe in purple, green, and gold and adorn themselves with a plentiful amount of long beads and necklaces thrown from parade floats.
One of the many traditions during the Mardi Gras season is the wearing of masks. Whether they only cover the eyes or the whole face, masks add an element of mystery and intrigue when worn, and are worn for rituals, celebrations, and performing arts. Mardi Gras is the largest masked party in North America.
Epiphany, January 6, officially kicks off the Carnival season in New Orleans. Carnival begins the time to eat, drink, and be merry before the meticulous fasting and sacrifice during Lent. This is the time when the parades and enhanced celebrations begin leading up to Mardi Gras, which is French for “Fat Tuesday.”
At the stroke of midnight on Tuesday, a large squad of New Orleans police officers makes a show of cleaning up Bourbon Street where most of the tourists and locals are out celebrating. The police are here to announce that the Carnival is over and that Ash Wednesday has begun, commencing with Lent.
Ash Wednesday is sometimes jokingly referred to by “Trash Wednesday” because of the amount of garbage left in the streets from the weeks of activities and celebrations.
The amount of trash has become a local news item, more in a positive way because it reflects the large turnout that came to partake in the celebrations.