Cultural events are usually those which are shared around the globe, but all different races, religion, and sometimes sexual preference, such as Gay Pride, which is a major event in the San Fransico bay area in California, but is also held in many other states for their LGBT communities. I myself have never experienced a major cultural event in any of the major states ive lived in, but one event that ive always heard of, and wanted to attend is Mardi Gras. “Mardi Gras, which means Fat Tuesday in French” has been apart of the New Orleans culture before New Orleans was a city in Louisiana. In fact the first Mardi Gras festival was celebrated in what is todays Mobile, Alabama.
Said to have popped up solely as the Catholic churches discouragement of sex, and meat during lent. It dates back thousands of years to Pagan celebrations of spring and fertility. “Traditionally the Tuesday before Ash Wednesday “Fat Tuesday” is the pre-festival before the beginning of lent, which is a Christian custom in which people would fast for 40 days, and 40 nights leading up to Easter Sunday. “In the early 1800s when Mardi Gras was forming many people would indulge in meats, and other things that they in turn would end up fasting for lent. Mardi Gras is another form of the big festival in other countries such as Brazil, and Venice, known as Carnival, which has very similar traditions.
To some Mardi Gras is just a big party, or festival where people dance eat, and drink I the streets of New Orleans, In order to bring tourists to the area. Although it does bring hundreds and thousands of people to New orleans for the festivities, to those who live there, and have grown up in Louisiana they have celebrated the American version of Carnival, its their way of life.
“Louisiana is the only state where Mardi Gras is a legal holiday.” To those in the state Mardi Gras is apart of their culture, which has a huge part in humanities. It’s a holiday just like Christmas, and thanksgiving. They have customs, and traditions such as throwing beads, which every year 12,500 beads get thrown, wearing masks, having floats parade down Bourban street, and eating king cake is apart of one of the biggest celebrations in the united states. One of the traditions that goes hand in hand with the festivities is King Cake. King Cake is one of Mardi Gras biggest customs, its only eaten during Mardi Gras, King Cake is made with brioche dough which gets braided, and laced with cinnamon, and is then glazed with purple, green, and gold sugar or icing the famous Mardi Gras colors. “Inside every King cake is a small baby, the person who receives the slice of cake with the baby inside buys the next slice of cake, or throws the next King Cake party. The colors of Mardi Gras are also a very important tradition, and custom of the well celebrated holiday in New Orleans. The famous colors were established in 1872 after the first Rex parade, the colors were established to represent the popular festival. Now you will see purple, gold, and green all over beads, floats, masks, and even their famous king cake. The colors themselves each represent, and stand for something. Purple represents justice, gold for power, and green for faith, these colors have become one of the most important parts of the Mardi Gras traditions.
Having these traditions and customs aren’t just to have a good time, its apart of the new orleans culture. Mardi Gras has been around since before New Orleans was a city in Louisiana, and has transformed the city. Just like any other festival such as Essence festival which is also held in New Orleans its defined by a certain culture, of a group of people. Mardi Gras is also a way to display different forms of art during that time period, people are creating costumes, masks, and designing floats that will be displayed during parades. If I ever had the chance to attend any cultural festival or event, Mardi Gras would definitely be on my list. The colors, the vibes, and the cultural history and background, of those who have celebrated for many years is something I would love to learn more about, not just a party, but a historical cultural festival. It’s a one in a lifetime experience for everyone to enjoy.