History of Mardi Gras

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  • Topic: Carnival, Mardi Gras, New Orleans Mardi Gras
  • Pages : 3 (916 words )
  • Download(s) : 719
  • Published : November 22, 2011
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What is your favorite holiday? Christmas, Halloween, Thanksgiving, New Years? I bet if you asked anyone from New Orleans and the surrounding areas, their answer would be Mardi Gras. “Party Gras” is the preferred name for most college students. Although the weekend before Mardi Gras day is actually one continuous party, there is a much deeper meaning to my favorite holiday. Carnival season is full of rich culture, history, and happiness. From the mayor’s toast to Rex, King of Carnival at Gallier Hall , to the Zulu King, to Bacchus and Endymion, to the meeting of the courts of Rex and Comus at the Ball of the Mystick Krewe of Comus, to the flambeaux and the St. Aug marching band, Mardi Gras history has always been a fascination of mine and part of my life. According to historians, Mardi Gras dates back thousands of years to the ancient Romans. They celebrated the Lupercalia, a circus like festival. When Rome embraced Christianity, the fathers decided it was better to incorporate certain aspects of pagan rituals into the new faith rather than attempt to abolish them. Carnival became a period of abandon and merriment that preceded the penance of Lent. Traditionally, in the days leading up to Lent, merrymakers would binge on all the meat, eggs, milk and cheese that remained in their homes, preparing for several weeks of eating only fish and fasting. In France, the day before Ash Wednesday came to be known as Mardi Gras, or "Fat Tuesday." The word "carnival," was another another common name for the pre-Lenten festivities. Many historians believe that the first American Mardi Gras took place on March 3, 1699, when the French explorers Iberville and Bienville landed in what is now Louisiana, just south of the New Orleans. They held a small celebration and dubbed the spot Point du Mardi Gras. In the decades that followed, New Orleans and other French settlements began marking the holiday with street parties, masked balls and lavish dinners. On Mardi Gras in 1827, a...
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