Mardi Gras

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					Mardi Gras

• Who officially runs Mardi Gras in
  New Orleans?
• Mardi Gras is a HOLIDAY, like
  Christmas. Or Halloween.
  Anyone can create Mardi Gras
  events. But the best parts of
  Mardi Gras are free ...
• All parades – probably the most
  recognizable element of Carnival –
  are held on public streets.
• There are no ticket booths to enter
  the French Quarter (although an age
  restriction would probably be a good
• What are the official dates for
  Mardi Gras?
• It is a common misperception
  that Mardi Gras is the start of a
  couple of weeks of parading and
  heavy partying. That’s
• Mardi Gras is the END, the last
  day of the partying.
• What’s the difference between
  Carnival and Mardi Gras?
• The Carnival season officially begins
  on Jan. 6th and continues until
  midnight of Fat Tuesday (Mardi
• But « Mardi Gras » is also commonly
  used to refer to the whole Carnival
• Carnival (carne vale) is Latin for
  «goodbye meat», i.e. no meat during
  the 40 days of Lent.
• New Orleans, this historically
  Roman Catholic city, which
  loves its food and drink more
  than normal, prepares for the
  pre-Easter Lent season by
  partying until the last minute.
• How early in the year can Mardi
  Gras be … and how late?
• Backed up 47 days before
  Easter, Mardi Gras can occur as
  early as Feb. 3 and as late as
  March 9.
• Why do some people say that
  the period of Lent before Easter
  lasts 47 days and others say
  that it lasts 40 days?
• Because in the 40 day period
  Sundays, Good Friday and the
  Saturday before Easter are not
• Is there a lot of nudity during
  Mardi Gras in New Orleans?
• That depends on your definition
  of « a lot. » Most of all, it
  depends on where you’re
• There is certainly SOME nudity
  during Mardi Gras. In general, it
  occurs within the French
• In most places in the city, you
  are unlikely to see any nudity at
  all… and if you do, you are likely
  to see the exposed person in
  handcuffs a short time later.
• Did Mobile, Alabama, or New
  Orleans have the first Mardi
• Neither !!!

• Carnival / Mardi Gras is a
  European import, celebrated
  long before Columbus.
• In fact, long before Europe
  was Christianized, Carnival
  was a pagan bacchanalia of
  drinking and debauchery…
  which hasn’t changed much.
• Much of Catholic Europe
  celebrates Carnival under
  one name or another, again
  as a season of partying
  before Lent.
• Is it true that Mardi Gras is
  really a pagan holiday?
• There is no doubt that the
  period of celebration that we
  call Carnival has roots in
  pagan end-of-winter and
  beginning-of-spring rituals
  reaching back thousands of
• These festivals existed
  across most lands that were
  overtaken by the Christian
• What’s the drinking age in New
• Despite rumors to the contrary,
  and the number of youngsters
  who manage to obtain alcohol,
  the drinking age in New Orleans
  is 21.
• What’s the best way to get
  colored beads?
• The best way to get beads free
  is to attend Mardi Gras parades.
• Each float rider has to provide
  his own « throws », mostly
  thousands of green, purple and
  gold beads.
• What do the colors purple,
  green and gold mean?
• Purple is for justice,
• Green for faith and
• Gold for power.

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