Mardi Gras: Celebrating New Orleans Culture
This period is marked by celebration, parades and feasting. The parades are held during mid-February.
Each day of this fortnight sees more than one extravagant, colorful and joyous parade. In the closing days of the carnival, the number of parades that sets off every day increases. The parades are an occasion for family and friends to dress up bizarre, decorate parade trucks together and enjoy the fantastic carnival.
People participating in the parades wear extensive masks and disguises. Parade disguises have evolved over the decades to reflect modern tastes and cultural trends. Mostly, they are members of Krewes, which are clubs that specialize in masking and parading on Mardi Gras.
On carnival weekend, school bands also participate in the parades. The Mystick Krewe of Comus is the oldest Krewe that held its first parade in 1857.
As the merry making parades march on the streets, the revelers shower the bystanders with throws. Small and colorful plastic and metal beads on strings, small toys, richly decorated plastic cups and doubloons, which are coins embellished with Krewe logos, constitute the most common and traditional throws.
This culmination of the Christian calendar and Roman celebration marked the birth of the Mardi Gras Parades. Modern revelry during the parades is actually a rendition of the older Roman carnival of Saturnalia.
The parades are a time of enjoyment when common social laws are suspended. The parades do not turn disorderly and free social licensing is granted within a certain lawful boundary.