Maybe you think you know everything about Mardi Gras. Or… maybe you don’t. Maybe you don’t know anything about it. But what exactly do you need to know about this magical holiday? Here ya go. I spell it out for you.
14 Great Things to Know About New Orleans Mardi Gras
1. It’s a way for folks to let off steam and let it all hang out and celebrate – we here in the NOLA are famous for that.
2. It’s a way to get exposed to the creativity and artistry of our parades.
3. It’s a great way for familes to come together to participate in something that is fun and wholesome. Well, mostly wholesome…
4. It gets visitors to the city who get to experience New Orleans, the real spirit of the city in a short period of time.
5. It’s a way for all social strata to contribute to and participate in the spirit and the life of the city.
6. It’s a great way for locals to celebrate all the great things about their home – the music, the dance, the food, the spirit, the culture and traditions that make up the heart and the true living spirit of New Orleans.
7. It’s a great way for organizations, specifially the many carnival “krewes” (private carnival organizations that actually pay for all the parades and celebrations) to give back to the city and showcase the many artistic, musical and culinary talents and wonders of our citizens.
8. It’s a great way to showcase all that is good about New Orleans, the culture, history and traditions to the whole world.
9. It’s a party that the people of New Orleans gives to itself and invites the whole world to participate.
10. The city of New Orleans is conscious about its past and its history, and is in love with itself and the idea of itself. So the festival celebrates the magic of the city, the cultural, the historical and it’s a way for all of the customs and traditions that have made this city great to continue to live on, a way for the older generation to pass down to the younger one all that is great about this city and what makes it tick and what makes it one of the bright spots in the world.
What would the US be without New Orleans? Just a bunch of stressed out, overworked white people dying of boredom.
11. It is a way to bring the magic of love, music, art, food and song to life. It stokes the fire of the life of the city to carry on and celebrate the wonder of life for another year until the next Mardi Gras comes along and we get to do it all again. Mardi Gras really keeps the city alive. That is why after the devastation of Hurricane Katrina not celebrating carnival was unthinkable. As long as there is Mardi Gras there will always be a New Orleans.
12. It’s a way for anyone to be really creative and don costumes and masks to step out of their normal day-to-day lives and celebrate their creations with others.
13. Despite the hundreds of thousands of people out on the streets, all the rowdiness and some inebriation it’s an amazingly safe and, for the most part, wholesome festival that parents have no problem taking even their youngest children along and making them part of the celebration.
14. It showcases the New Orleans Police Department as being the best in the world at crowd control. In fact, folks from other police departments around the world come to New Orleans to learn how we do it.
And for lagniappe:
15. From a masker on a passing float you can catch all kinds of beads, trinkets, doubloons, go cups, plush toys, balls and other kinds of, what many would consider, crap, and act like, just for a moment, that what you are trying to catch actually has some kind of value, when it really doesn’t, except that it was thrown to you and you caught it. And in actuality sometimes you can use some of the crap you caught! But most of it stays in a bag that you put in the back of your closet and forget about.
Anyway, that’s it in a nutshell. There are more things that are great about New Orleans Mardi Gras and I’m sure each New Orleanian has their own take on it. These are just a few that I was thinking of as we all gear up for the final day of carnival, the day before the 40 day preparation leading up to Easter.
And, yes, in case you were wondering Mardi Gras is actually a religious festival.