Topics: Carnival, Shrove Tuesday / Pages: 7 (1543 words) / Published: Oct 9th, 1999
This paper is about Mardi Gras, A festival or Carnival celebrated once a year. In this paper I will discuss how
Mardi Gras originated, when it is celebrated, how it is celebrated, and what does it mean to all the different cultures. Mardi Gras, in the French speaking parts of the world and in some US southern states is the last day of carnival festivities preceding Lent, the time of penitence observed by Christians in preparation for Easter. Mardi Gras ("Fat
Tuesday") is a French term for Shrove Tuesday, the day before the start of Lent. Before Lent festivities reach the climax on a day in February or March, depending on what date Easter is.(Americana pg. 308) French colonists brought Mardi Gras to America in the early 1700's. It grew popular in New Orleans,
Louisiana, and spread through the southern states. Mardi
Gras is a legal holiday in Alabama and Florida and in eight counties of Louisiana. The New Orleans celebration is the most famous. But Biloxi, Mississippi, and Mobile,
Alabama also have celebrations. (World Book pg. 197) History of Mardi Gras in New Orleans during the 18th century. Many wealthy Louisiana families would leave their rural plantations to spend the winter months in New
Orleans, where they held lavish parties and masked balls.
The first written reference to Mardi Gras celebrations in
New Orleans appears in a 1781 report of the Spanish government, which controlled Louisiana. The report addressed problems that might arise from allowing slaves to wear masks at the winter festivities. The United States took control of Louisiana in 1803, and the New Orleans' city council banned all masked entertainment three years later.
Enforcement of the law appears to have been erratic. By the mid-1820s masks and costumes were again legal. The first documented Mardi Gras parade took place in 1837, and the parade soon became an annual tradition. However, outbursts of violence at the parades gave the festivities a bad name.("Mardi Gras" Microsoft

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