Mardi Gras (/ˈmɑːrdi ˌɡrɑː/), or Fat Tuesday, refers to events of the Carnival celebration, beginning on or after the Christian feasts of the Epiphany (Three Kings Day) and culminating on the day before Ash Wednesday (known as Shrove Tuesday). Mardi Gras is French for "Fat Tuesday", reflecting the practice of the last night of eating rich, fatty foods before the ritual fasting of the Lenten season.
Related popular practices are associated with Shrovetide celebrations before the fasting and religious obligations associated with the penitential season of Lent. In countries such as the United Kingdom, Mardi Gras is also known as Shrove Tuesday, which is derived from the word shrive, meaning "to administer the sacrament of confession to; to absolve".
|Also called||Fat Tuesday, Shrove Tuesday, Pancake Tuesday|
|Significance||Celebration period before fasting season of Lent|
|Date||Day before Ash Wednesday, 47 days before Easter|
|2018 date||February 13|
|2019 date||March 5|
|2020 date||February 25|
|2021 date||February 16|
|Related to||Shrove Tuesday; Carnival, Shrove Monday, Ash Wednesday, Lent, Užgavėnės, Maslenitsa, Valentine's Day|
Some think Mardi Gras may be linked with the ancient Roman pagan celebrations of spring and fertility such as Saturnalia, which dates back to 133–31 BC. This celebration honored the god of agriculture, Saturn. It was observed in mid-December, before the sowing of winter crops. It was a week-long festival when work and business came to a halt. Schools and courts of law closed, and the normal social patterns were suspended.
On the Julian calendar, which the Romans used at the time, the winter solstice fell on December 25. Hence, the celebration gradually became associated with Christmas.
The festival is more commonly associated with Christian tradition. In the Gospel of Matthew the biblical Magi (also called the 'Three Wise Men' or 'Three Kings') visited Jesus with gifts containing gold, frankincense, and myrrh. So twelve days after Christmas, Western Christians celebrate the feast of Epiphany, a celebration of Jesus coming for more than just the Jews, as even Gentile magi were allowed to see him. This begins the Carnival celebration which continues until the day before Ash Wednesday. The culmination of this celebration overlapped with the beginning of Lent. Early Christians believed that during the Lenten season (the forty days between Ash Wednesday and Easter, not including Sundays), Christians should deprive themselves of anything (especially foods) that brought joy so that they might understand better the trials that Jesus faced leading up to his death on Good Friday. Thus, on the Tuesday before Lent and the last day of Epiphany, Christians would celebrate with a feast of their favorite foods to tide them over the coming weeks.
These feasts, which first were only meant for Christians, were expanded so that Christians would celebrate with their neighbors and friends. Slowly, feasts like Shrove Tuesday became public celebrations and adapted many names and traditions as they spread.
The festival season varies from city to city, as some traditions, such as the one in New Orleans, Louisiana, consider Mardi Gras to stretch the entire period from Twelfth Night (the last night of Christmas which begins Epiphany) to Ash Wednesday. Others treat the final three-day period before Ash Wednesday as the Mardi Gras. In Mobile, Alabama, Mardi Gras–associated social events begin in November, followed by mystic society balls on Thanksgiving, then New Year's Eve, followed by parades and balls in January and February, celebrating up to midnight before Ash Wednesday. In earlier times, parades were held on New Year's Day. Other cities famous for Mardi Gras celebrations include Rio de Janeiro; Barranquilla, Colombia; George Town, Cayman Islands; Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago; Quebec City, Quebec, Canada; and Mazatlán, Sinaloa, Mexico.
Carnival is an important celebration in Anglican and Catholic European nations. In the United Kingdom and Ireland, the week before Ash Wednesday is called "Shrovetide", ending on Shrove Tuesday. It has its popular celebratory aspects, as well. Pancakes are a traditional food. Pancakes and related fried breads or pastries made with sugar, fat, and eggs are also traditionally consumed at this time in many parts of Latin America and the Caribbean.
In the Belgian city of Binche, the Mardi Gras festival is one of the most important days of the year and the summit of the Carnival of Binche. Around 1000 Gilles dance throughout the city from morning until past dusk, whilst traditional carnival songs play. In 2003, the "Carnival of Binche" was proclaimed one of the Masterpieces of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity by UNESCO.
Another noteworthy celebration in Belgium is Aalst Carnaval. Mardi Gras is considered the day of the "Voil Janet" or "Dirty Sissy". Traditionally in Aalst, men dress as their wives or mothers. This custom called "Voil Janet" goes back to the time when Aalst was an industrial time and workers did not have the money to buy dresses. On Mardi Gras the "Voil Janet" gets a parade dedicated to it. Men and woman dressed traditionally get to walk along in the parade. And interact with the viewers.
The word "Voil" in the local dialect, means dirty (= Dutch "vuil", cognate with English "foul"). Hence why the parade is sometimes claimed obnoxious, dirty and flatout obscene. Though the parade has mellowed down over the years due to restrictions implemented by the town.
Later that day people gather around an effigy that is lit. This event is paired with a lot of music, emotions and fraternity. The event is known for the fact that almost every person in the crowd starts crying. After that, there is one last night of celebration.
Carnival is the most famous Brazilian holiday. During this time, Brazil attracts 70% of its tourists. Variations in carnival celebrations are observed throughout the multitude of Brazilian cities. Commonality observed among them is the incorporation of samba into the celebrations. The southeastern cities of Brazil have massive parades that take place in large sambadromes. The Rio Carnival is where two million people celebrate in the city. The city of Salvador holds a very large carnival celebration where millions of people celebrate the party in the streets of the city with a very big diversity of musical styles together.
Cayman Mardi Gras hosts a popular Monday Food Festival prior to the Fat Tuesday Festivities. Ash Wednesday being a holiday has a daytime party in George Town which coincides with the annual Agriculture Fair which is attended by thousands of residents.
Carnaval de Barranquilla is Colombia's Mardi Gras celebration. In 2003, it was proclaimed as one of the Masterpieces of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity by UNESCO.
In the Czech Republic it is a folk tradition to celebrate Mardi Gras, which is called Masopust (meat-fast i.e. beginning of fast there). There are celebration in many places including Prague but the tradition also prevails in the villages such as Staré Hamry, whose the door-to-door processions there made it to the UNESCO World Intangible Cultural Heritage List.
The Nice Carnival is held annually in Nice on the French Riviera. The earliest records establish its existence in 1294 when the Count of Provence, Charles Anjou, wrote that he had passed "the joyous days of carnival." This may make the Nice Carnival the original carnival celebration. Today the event attracts over a million visitors to Nice every year over a two-week period.
The celebration on the same day in Germany knows many different terms, such as Schmutziger Donnerstag or Fetter Donnerstag (Fat Thursday), Unsinniger Donnerstag, Weiberfastnacht, Greesentag and others, and are often only one part of the whole carnival events during one or even two weeks before Ash Wednesday be called Karneval, Fasching, or Fastnacht among others, depending on the region. In standard German, schmutzig means "dirty", but in the Alemannic dialects schmotzig means "lard" (Schmalz), or "fat"; "Greasy Thursday", as remaining winter stores of lard and butter used to be consumed at that time, before the fasting began. Fastnacht means "Eve of the Fast", but all three terms cover the whole carnival season. The traditional start of the carnival season is on 11 November at 11:11 am (11/11 11:11).
In Italy Mardi Gras is called Martedì Grasso (Fat Tuesday). It's the main day of Carnival along with the Thursday before, called Giovedí Grasso (Fat Thursday), which ratifies the start of the celebrations. The most famous Carnivals in Italy are in Venice, Viareggio and Ivrea. Ivrea has the characteristic "Battle of Oranges" that finds its roots in medieval times. The Italian version of the festival is spelled Carnevale.
The Netherlands also has a festival similar to Mardi Gras. It's called Carnaval and is similar to the Venice Carnival. The origin of the word Carnaval is carnem levare which means "to take away meat" in Latin, or carne vale, Latin for "farewell to meat". It marks the beginning of Lent (1 March 2017) leading up to Easter
The carnival in the Netherlands is mainly held in the southern part of the Netherlands in the provinces of Noord-Brabant and Limburg, some parts of Zeeland and in eastern parts of Twente and Gelderland. As with many popular festivals, people tend to loosen some moral codes and become laid-back or loose, which is based in the ancient role-reversal origins of Carnaval, including dressing in costumes.
Both Russia and Ukraine have the festival of Maslenitsa (Масленица, rus.), which on its pagan side celebrates the end of winter and the upcoming summer, and on its Christian side marks the last week before the Great Fasting period before Christian Easter. The festival includes family gatherings with festive meals and treats of bliny (crepes) that resemble the round shape of sun, and culminates on the weekend with mass outdoors gatherings, festivities and entertaining activities such as pole climbing, where a wheel with variety of presents is affixed on the top of a long pole and the contestants need to reach the top to get them. Also the festival's mascot – a feminine figure made out of straw, which symbolizes winter, gets put on fire at the end of the celebration.
In Sweden the celebration is called Fettisdagen, when you eat fastlagsbulle, more commonly called Semla. The name comes from the words "fett" (fat) and "tisdag" (Tuesday). Originally, this was the only day one should eat fastlagsbullar.
While not observed nationally throughout the United States, a number of traditionally ethnic French cities and regions in the country have notable celebrations. Mardi Gras arrived in North America as a French Catholic tradition with the Le Moyne brothers, Pierre Le Moyne d'Iberville and Jean-Baptiste Le Moyne de Bienville, in the late 17th century, when King Louis XIV sent the pair to defend France's claim on the territory of Louisiane, which included what are now the U.S. states of Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana and part of eastern Texas.
The expedition, led by Iberville, entered the mouth of the Mississippi River on the evening of 2 March 1699 (new style), Lundi Gras. They did not yet know it was the river explored and claimed for France by René-Robert Cavelier, Sieur de La Salle in 1683. The party proceeded upstream to a place on the east bank about 60 miles downriver from where New Orleans is today, and made camp. This was on 3 March 1699, Mardi Gras, so in honour of this holiday, Iberville named the spot Point du Mardi Gras (French: "Mardi Gras Point") and called the nearby tributary Bayou Mardi Gras. Bienville went on to found the settlement of Mobile, Alabama in 1702 as the first capital of French Louisiana. In 1703 French settlers in Mobile established the first organised Mardi Gras celebration tradition in what was to become the United States. The first informal mystic society, or krewe, was formed in Mobile in 1711, the Boeuf Gras Society. By 1720, Biloxi had been made capital of Louisiana. The French Mardi Gras customs had accompanied the colonists who settled there.
In 1723, the capital of Louisiana was moved to New Orleans, founded in 1718. The first Mardi Gras parade held in New Orleans is recorded to have taken place in 1837. The tradition in New Orleans expanded to the point that it became synonymous with the city in popular perception, and embraced by residents of New Orleans beyond those of French or Catholic heritage. Mardi Gras celebrations are part of the basis of the slogan Laissez les bons temps rouler ("Let the good times roll"). On Mardi Gras Day, the Tuesday before Ash Wednesday, the last parades of the season wrap up and the celebrations come to a close with the Meeting of the Courts (known locally as the Rex Ball). Other cities along the Gulf Coast with early French colonial heritage, from Pensacola, Florida; Galveston, Texas; to Lake Charles and Lafayette, Louisiana; and north to Natchez, Mississippi and Alexandria, Louisiana, have active Mardi Gras celebrations.
Galveston's first recorded Mardi Gras celebration, in 1867, included a masked ball at Turner Hall (Sealy at 21st St.) and a theatrical performance from Shakespeare's "King Henry IV" featuring Alvan Reed (a justice of the peace weighing in at 350 pounds!) as Falstaff. The first year that Mardi Gras was celebrated on a grand scale in Galveston was 1871 with the emergence of two rival Mardi Gras societies, or "Krewes" called the Knights of Momus (known only by the initials "K.O.M.") and the Knights of Myth, both of which devised night parades, masked balls, exquisite costumes and elaborate invitations. The Knights of Momus, led by some prominent Galvestonians, decorated horse-drawn wagons for a torch lit night parade. Boasting such themes as "The Crusades," "Peter the Great," and "Ancient France," the procession through downtown Galveston culminated at Turner Hall with a presentation of tableaux and a grand gala.
St. Louis, Missouri, founded in 1764 by French fur traders, claims to host the second largest Mardi Gras celebration in the United States. The celebration is held in the historic French neighborhood, Soulard, and attracts hundreds of thousands of people from around the country. Although founded in the 1760s, the St. Louis Mardi Gras festivities only date to the 1980s. The city's celebration begins with "12th night," held on Epiphany, and ends on Fat Tuesday. The season is peppered with various parades celebrating the city's rich French Catholic heritage.
Mardi Gras, as a celebration of life before the more-somber occasion of Ash Wednesday, nearly always involves the use of masks and costumes by its participants. In New Orleans, for example, these often take the shape of fairies, animals, people from myths, or various Medieval costumes as well as clowns and Indians (Native Americans). However, many costumes today are simply elaborate creations of colored feathers and capes. Unlike Halloween costumery, Mardi Gras costumes are not usually associated with such things as zombies, mummies, bats, blood, and the like, though death may be a theme in some. The Venice tradition has brought golden masks into the usual round of costumes.
Women exposing their breasts during Mardi Gras in New Orleans, US, has been documented since 1889, when the Times-Democrat decried the "degree of immodesty exhibited by nearly all female masqueraders seen on the streets." The practice was mostly limited to tourists in the upper Bourbon Street area. In the crowded streets of the French Quarter, generally avoided by locals on Mardi Gras Day, flashers on balconies cause crowds to form on the streets.
In the last decades of the 20th century, the rise in producing commercial videotapes catering to voyeurs helped encourage a tradition of women baring their breasts in exchange for beads and trinkets. Social scientists studying "ritual disrobement" found, at Mardi Gras 1991, 1,200 instances of body-baring in exchange for beads or other favors.
In Anglican countries, Mardis Gras is known as Shrove Tuesday-from shrive meaning "confess"-or Pancake Day — after the breakfast food that symbolizes one final hearty meal of eggs, butter, milk and sugar before the fast. On Ash Wednesday, the morning after Mardi Gras, repentant Christians return to church to receive upon the forehead the sign of the cross in ashes.
Cairns Tropical Pride is an annual LGBT pride parade and festival in Cairns, Australia, and the largest LGBT event in Tropical North Queensland. The first event was held in 2006, and was originally held in conjunction with the Cairns Festival before changing its name for 2015 and 2016 to "Tropical Mardi Gras" and its timing to October. The event reverted to Cairns Tropical Pride for 2017.The festival features a variety of activities, including boat cruises, pool parties, art exhibitions and a Fair Day with a renowned Dog Show, community forums, drag and fashion shows, art exhibition and community recognition awards. In 2016, the Fair Day also introduced an annual same-sex wedding expo.Capuchon
A capuchon is a cone-shaped ceremonial hat worn during the Mardi Gras celebration in the Cajun areas of southwestern Louisiana, known as the Courir de Mardi Gras. The rural celebration is based on early begging rituals, similar to those still celebrated by mummers, wassailers and celebrants of Halloween. As Mardi Gras is the celebration of the final day before Lent, celebrants drink and eat heavily, but dress in costume, ostensibly to protect their identities.
Many of the traditional costumes are derivatives of the costumes worn in early rural France during the same celebration. The costumes directly mock the nobility, the clergy and the educated; celebrants wear miter hats, mortarboards and capuchons, which were initially designed to mock the tall pointy hats worn by noble women.
These hats are still worn, primarily by men. The name "capuchon" comes from the same root word, "cappa" in Latin, meaning a cape or hood, that gives us "cap", "cape", "cope", "chapeau" in French, Capuchin monkeys, Capuchin friars, cappuccinos and baseball caps. Chaperon (headgear) describes the development of the word. The hats are vibrantly decorated to match (or intentionally mis-match) the colorful Mardi Gras costumes that they accompany. They are often worn with a mask.
The capuchons worn by Mardi Gras celebrants are unrelated to the pointed hoods worn by the Ku Klux Klan, and predate the hoods by several hundred years.Courir de Mardi Gras
The Courir de Mardi Gras (Louisiana French pronunciation: [kuɾiɾ d maɾdi ɡɾa] French pronunciation: [kuʁiʁ də maʁdi ɡʁa]) is a traditional Mardi Gras event held in many Cajun communities of south Louisiana on the Tuesday before Ash Wednesday. Courir de Mardi Gras is Cajun French for "Fat Tuesday Run". The rural Mardi Gras celebration is based on early begging rituals, similar to those still celebrated by mummers, wassailers and celebrants of Halloween. As Mardi Gras is the celebration of the final day before Lent, celebrants drink and eat heavily, and also dress in specialized costumes, ostensibly to protect their identities. Popular practices include wearing masks, capuchons, and costumes, overturning social conventions, dancing, drinking alcohol, begging, feasting, whipping. Mardi Gras is one of the few occasions when exceptions are allowed, as are Halloween celebrations and religious observances. Two HBO series (the crime drama True Detective and the post Hurricane Katrina themed Treme) make reference to the tradition.Faubourg Marigny Mardi Gras costumes
The Faubourg Marigny neighborhood of New Orleans, Louisiana is one of the most active on Mardi Gras Day, with many elaborate costumers strolling the streets. This part of town is relatively little visited by tourists compared to other areas with active celebrations.
The informal walking krewes "Society of Saint Anne" and "The Pair-O-Dice Tumbers" parade through the neighborhood and surrounding areas, as do many smaller groups and individual revelers in costume. In 2008, WWL-TV personality and Carnival historian Professor Carl Nivale made the Marigny his new base of operations for The Compleat Carnival Compendium & Mardi Gras Manual.King cake
A king cake (sometimes shown as kingcake, kings' cake, king's cake, or three kings' cake) is a type of cake associated in a number of countries with the festival of Epiphany at the end of the Christmas season; in other places, it is associated with the pre-Lenten celebrations of Mardi Gras/Carnival.
What started out roughly 300 years ago as a dry French bread–type dough with sugar on top and a bean inside now comes in many varieties depending on the country. Some king cakes are made of a sweet brioche dough in the shape of a hollow circle with a glazed topping sprinkled with colored sugar. Hundreds of thousands of king cakes are eaten in New Orleans during the Carnival season. In other countries, king cakes are made with a puff pastry, filled with one of several fillings (e.g., almond, apple, chocolate/pear, etc.), and have a small figurine, called a fève, hidden inside. The figurine changes from bakery to bakery and can have a variety of themes. The person who gets the piece of cake with the fève has various privileges and obligations.Krewe
A krewe (pronounced "crew") is a social organization that puts on a parade or ball for the Carnival season. The term is best known for its association with Mardi Gras celebrations in New Orleans, but is also used in other Carnival celebrations around the Gulf of Mexico, such as the Gasparilla Pirate Festival in Tampa, Florida, and Springtime Tallahassee, as well as in La Crosse, Wisconsin, and at the Saint Paul Winter Carnival.
The word is thought to have been coined in the early 19th century by an organization calling themselves Ye Mistick Krewe of Comus, as an archaic affectation; with time it became the most common term for a New Orleans Carnival organization. The Mistick Krewe of Comus itself was inspired by a Mobile mystic society, with annual parades in Mobile, Alabama, called the Cowbellion de Rakin Society that dated from 1830.Mardi Gras (album)
Mardi Gras is the seventh and final studio album by American band Creedence Clearwater Revival, released on April 11, 1972. The group disbanded after this album was released.Mardi Gras Film Festival
The Mardi Gras Film Festival is an Australian LGBTIQ film festival held in Sydney, New South Wales annually as part of the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras celebrations. It is organised by Queer Screen Limited, a non-profit organization, and is one of the world's largest platforms for queer cinema.Mardi Gras Indians
Mardi Gras Indians are black carnival revelers in New Orleans, Louisiana, who dress up for Mardi Gras in suits influenced by Native American ceremonial apparel.
Collectively, their organizations are called "tribes". There are about 38 tribes. They range in size from half a dozen to several dozen members. The groups are largely independent, but a pair of umbrella organizations loosely coordinate the Uptown Indians and the Downtown Indians.
In addition to Mardi Gras Day, many of the tribes also parade on Saint Joseph's Day (March 19) and the Sunday nearest to Saint Joseph's Day ("Super Sunday"). Traditionally, these were the only times Mardi Gras Indians were seen in public in full regalia. The New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival began the practice of hiring tribes to appear at the Festival as well. In recent years it has become more common to see Mardi Gras Indians at other festivals and parades in the city.
Notwithstanding the popularity of such activities for tourists and residents alike, the phenomenon of the Mardi Gras Indians is said to reflect both a vital musical history, and an equally vital attempt to express internal social dynamics.Mardi Gras in Mobile, Alabama
Mardi Gras is the annual Carnival celebration in Mobile, Alabama. It is the oldest annual Carnival celebration in the United States, started by Frenchman Nicholas Langlois in 1703 when Mobile was the capital of Louisiana. This was fifteen years before New Orleans was founded, although today their celebrations are much more widely known for all the current traditions such as masked balls, parades, floats and throws were first created there. From Mobile being the first capital of French Louisiana (1702), the festival began as a French Catholic tradition. Mardi Gras in Mobile has now evolved into a mainstream multi-week celebration across the spectrum of cultures in Mobile, becoming school holidays for the final Monday and Tuesday (some include Wednesday), regardless of religious affiliation.Although Mobile has traditions of exclusive societies, with formal masked balls and elegant costumes, the celebration has evolved over the past three centuries to become typified by public parades where members of societies, often masked, on floats or horseback, toss gifts (known as throws) to the general public. Throws include necklaces of plastic beads, doubloon coins, decorated plastic cups, candy, wrapped cakes known as Moonpies or snacks, stuffed animals, and small toys, footballs, frisbees, or whistles.The masked balls or dances, where non-masked men wear white tie and tails (full dress or costume de rigueur) and the women wear half length evening gowns, are oriented to adults, with some mystic societies treating the balls as an extension of the debutante season of their exclusive social circles. Various nightclubs and local bars offer their own particular events.
Beyond the public parades, Mardi Gras in Mobile involves many various mystic societies, some having begun in 1704, or ending with the Civil War, while new societies were formed every century. Some mystic societies are never seen in public parades, but rather hold invitation-only events for their secret members, with private balls beginning in November, each year.Mardi Gras in New Orleans
The holiday of Mardi Gras is celebrated in all of Louisiana, including the city of New Orleans. Celebrations are concentrated for about two weeks before and through Shrove Tuesday, the day before Ash Wednesday (the start of lent in the Western Christian tradition). Usually there is one major parade each day (weather permitting); many days have several large parades. The largest and most elaborate parades take place the last five days of the Mardi Gras season. In the final week, many events occur throughout New Orleans and surrounding communities, including parades and balls (some of them masquerade balls).
The parades in New Orleans are organized by social clubs known as krewes; most follow the same parade schedule and route each year. The earliest-established krewes were the Mistick Krewe of Comus, the earliest, Rex, the Knights of Momus and the Krewe of Proteus. Several modern "super krewes" are well known for holding large parades and events, such as the Krewe of Endymion (which is best known for naming celebrities as grand marshals for their parades), the Krewe of Bacchus (similarly known for naming celebrities as their Kings), as well as the Zulu Social Aid & Pleasure Club—a predominantly African American krewe. Float riders traditionally toss throws into the crowds. The most common throws are strings of colorful plastic beads, doubloons (aluminum or wooden dollar-sized coins usually impressed with a krewe logo), decorated plastic "throw cups", Moon Pies, and small inexpensive toys, but throws can also include lingerie and more sordid items. Major krewes follow the same parade schedule and route each year.
While many tourists center their Carnival season activities on Bourbon Street and in New Orleans and Dauphin, major parades originate in the Uptown and Mid-City districts and follow a route along St. Charles Avenue and Canal Street, on the upriver side of the French Quarter. Mardi Gras day traditionally concludes with the "Meeting of the Courts" between Rex and Comus.Mardi Gras in the United States
Mardi Gras in the United States is not observed nationally across the country, however a number of cities and regions in the U.S. have notable Carnival celebrations. Most trace their Mardi Gras celebrations to French, Spanish, and other colonial influences on the settlements over their history. The earliest Carnival celebration in North America occurred at a place on the west bank of the Mississippi river about 60 miles (96.6 kilometers) downriver from where New Orleans is today; this Mardi Gras on the 3rd of March 1699 and in honor of this holiday, Pierre Le Moyne, Sieur d'Iberville, a 38-year-old French Canadian, named the spot Point du Mardi Gras (French: "Mardi Gras Point") near Fort Jackson. The earliest organized Carnival celebrations occurred in Mobile, Biloxi, New Orleans, and Pensacola, which have each developed separate traditions. In addition, modern activities generally vary from city to city across the U.S.Mardi Gras throws
Mardi Gras throws are strings of beads, doubloons, cups, or other trinkets passed out or thrown from the floats in the New Orleans Mardi Gras, the Mobile Mardi Gras and parades all throughout the Gulf Coast of the United States, to spectators lining the streets. The "gaudy plastic jewelry, toys, and other mementos [are] tossed to the crowds from parading floats". "The goodies, or 'throws,' consist of necklaces of plastic beads, coins called doubloons, which are stamped with krewes' logos, parade themes and the year, plus an array of plastic cups and toys such as Frisbees or figurines". The cups that are used as throws are sometimes referred to as New Orleans dinnerware.Beads used on Mardis Gras (known as Shrove Tuesday in some regions) are gold, purple and green, with these three colors containing the Christian symbolism of power, justice and faith, respectively. Traditionally, Mardis Gras beads were manufactured in Japan and Czech Republic, although many are now imported from mainland China. As Fat Tuesday concludes the period of Carnival (Shrovetide), Mardis Gras beads are taken off oneself on the following day, Ash Wednesday, which begins the penitential season of Lent. As such, one of the "solemn practices of Ash Wednesday is to pack all the beads acquired during the parade season into bags and boxes and taken them to the attic".Spectators have traditionally shouted to the krewe members, "Throw me something, mister!", a phrase that is iconic in New Orleans' Mardi Gras street argot. Some women expose their breasts to invite throws in the French Quarter. This is not common during Mardi Gras parades. Some krewes have specialty throws; for example, the Zulu Social Aid & Pleasure Club hand-painted coconut or the Krewe of Muses shoes and mirrors.Mobile Carnival Museum
The Mobile Carnival Museum is a history museum that chronicles over 300 years of Carnival and Mardi Gras in Mobile, Alabama. The museum is housed in the historic Bernstein-Bush mansion on Government Street in downtown Mobile.Mystic society
A mystic society is a Mardi Gras social organization in Mobile, Alabama, that presents parades and/or balls for the enjoyment of its members, guests, and the public. The New Orleans Krewe is patterned after Mobile's Mystics. The societies have been based in class, economic and racial groups. Mobile's parading mystic societies build colorful Carnival floats and create costumes around each year's themes.
During the Carnival season, the mystic societies parade in costume on their floats throughout downtown Mobile. Masked society members toss small gifts, known as throws, to the parade spectators. The throws can take the form of trinkets, candy, cookies, peanuts, panties, artificial roses, stuffed animals, doubloons, cups, hats, can coolers, Frisbees, medallion necklaces, bead necklaces of every variety, and Moon Pies.Mystic societies in Mobile give formal masquerade balls, known as bal masqués, which are almost always invitation only and are oriented to adults. Attendance at a ball requires that a strict dress code be followed that usually involves full-length evening gowns and white tie with tails for invited guests, and masked costumes for society members. The bal masqués feature dramatic entertainment, music, dancing, food, and drinks. Bal masqués are normally based on a theme which is carried out through scenery, decorations, and costumes. Some society balls also include a tableau vivant. Much of the memorabilia from these occasions can be viewed at the Mobile Carnival Museum.Rex parade
Rex (founded 1872) is a New Orleans Carnival Krewe which stages one of the city's most celebrated parades on Mardi Gras Day. Rex is Latin for "King", and Rex reigns as "The King of Carnival".Shrove Tuesday
Shrove Tuesday (also known in Commonwealth countries and Ireland as Pancake Tuesday or Pancake Day) is the day in February or March immediately preceding Ash Wednesday (the first day of Lent), which is celebrated in some countries by consuming pancakes. In others, especially those where it is called Mardi Gras or some translation thereof, this is a carnival day, and also the last day of "fat eating" or "gorging" before the fasting period of Lent.
This moveable feast is determined by Easter. The expression "Shrove Tuesday" comes from the word shrive, meaning "absolve". Shrove Tuesday is observed by many Christians, including Anglicans, Lutherans, Methodists and Roman Catholics, who "make a special point of self-examination, of considering what wrongs they need to repent, and what amendments of life or areas of spiritual growth they especially need to ask God's help in dealing with."As this is the last day of the liturgical season historically known as Shrovetide, before the penitential season of Lent, related popular practices, such as indulging in food that one gives up for the upcoming forty days, are associated with Shrove Tuesday celebrations. The term Mardi Gras is French for "Fat Tuesday", referring to the practice of the last night of eating richer, fatty foods before the ritual fasting of the Lenten season, which begins on Ash Wednesday.Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras
The Sydney Gay & Lesbian Mardi Gras, at one stage temporarily the Sydney Mardi Gras, or locally Mardi Gras, is an annual LGBT pride parade and festival in Sydney, Australia, attended by hundreds of thousands of people from around Australia and overseas. It is one of the largest such festivals in the world, and includes a variety of events such as the Sydney Mardi Gras Parade and Party, Bondi Beach Drag Races, Harbour Party, the academic discussion panel Queer Thinking, Mardi Gras Film Festival, as well as Fair Day, which attracts 70,000 people to Victoria Park, Sydney.
The Sydney Gay & Lesbian Mardi Gras is one of Australia's biggest tourist drawcards, with the parade and dance party attracting many international and domestic tourists. It is New South Wales' second-largest annual event in terms of economic impact, generating an annual income of about A$30 million for the state.
The event grew from gay rights parades held annually since 1978, when numerous participants had been arrested by New South Wales Police. The Mardi Gras Parade maintains a political flavour, with many marching groups and floats promoting LGBTQI rights issues or themes. Reflecting changes since the first Sydney Gay & Lesbian Mardi Gras, participants in the Mardi Gras Parade now include groups of uniformed Australian Defence Force personnel, police officers from New South Wales State Police, as well as interstate and federal police officers, firefighters and other emergency services personnel from the Australian LGBTQI communities. Marriage equality was a dominant theme in the 2011 Sydney Gay & Lesbian Mardi Gras Parade with at least 15 floats lobbying for same-sex marriage.The Mardi Gras Mystery
The Mardi Gras Mystery is the 81st book in the Nancy Drew series. Set in New Orleans at Mardi Gras, it concerns a mysterious art theft.
Carnival around the world
American Heart Month
Black History Month
Irish-American Heritage Month
National Colon Cancer Awareness Month
Women's History Month
Confederate History Month
Asian Pacific American Heritage Month
Jewish American Heritage Month
Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and
Transgender Pride Month
Prostate Cancer Awareness Month
Hispanic Heritage Month
Breast Cancer Awareness Month
Disability Employment Awareness Month
Filipino American History Month
LGBT History Month
Native American Indian Heritage Month
|Varies (year round)|
(federal) = federal holidays, (state) = state holidays, (religious) = religious holidays, (week) = weeklong holidays, (month) = monthlong holidays, (36) = Title 36 Observances and Ceremonies