Mardi Gras Celebration Ideas + HM #169
Well, hello! Even though, as I mentioned last week, I’m not a “party girl” and my life is pretty boring compared to lots of other people, this week has been pretty “wild and crazy.” For me, that is. So getting my blog posts up on time was a real challenge, but I did it! This week for the Home Matters Linky Party #169 the theme is Mardi Gras Celebration Ideas, which caused me to draw a complete blank. Not only am I not familiar with party “stuff” in general, but I had no idea really what “Mardi Gras” is really all about. I’ve read a bit about it in terms of its historical religious significance (having spent a few years studying early church history), but as far as its contemporary significance and all of the celebrations that go along with it, I simply had no clue. Until this week, when I discovered some historical information about it, which as it turns out is pretty interesting (at least to me!), so that’s the focus on my #HMLP post this week. #HomeMattersParty #MardiGrasIdeas
After I discovered some of the history behind this celebration, all of the hoopla made a lot more sense to me. Do you celebrate Mardi Gras? What do you know about how all of this celebrating came about? Or are you a bit like me, and have really no idea what’s up with the purple, green, and gold and all those beautifully embellished masks? Here’s a little history just in case you are kind of a history nerd like me, or if you just are curious . . . .
“Mardi Gras is a Christian holiday and popular cultural phenomenon that dates back thousands of years to pagan spring and fertility rites. Also known as Carnival or Carnaval, it’s celebrated in many countries around the world—mainly those with large Roman Catholic populations—on the day before the religious season of Lent begins. Brazil, Venice and New Orleans play host to some of the holiday’s most famous public festivities, drawing thousands of tourists and revelers every year.” (from history.com)
WHAT IS MARDI GRAS?
When Christianity arrived in Rome, religious leaders decided to incorporate these popular local traditions into the new faith, an easier task than abolishing them altogether. As a result, the excess and debauchery of the Mardi Gras season became a prelude to Lent, the 40 days of fasting and penance between Ash Wednesday and Easter Sunday.
Along with Christianity, Mardi Gras spread from Rome to other European countries, including France, Germany, Spain and England.
WHAT DOES MARDI GRAS MEAN?
Mardi is the French word for Tuesday, and gras means “fat.” In France, the day before Ash Wednesday came to be known as Mardi Gras, or “Fat Tuesday.”
Traditionally, in the days leading up to Lent, merrymakers would binge on all the rich, fatty foods—meat, eggs, milk, lard, cheese—that remained in their homes, in anticipation of several weeks of eating only fish and different types of fasting.
The word carnival, another common name for the pre-Lenten festivities, also derives from this feasting tradition: in Medieval Latin, carnelevarium means to take away or remove meat, from the Latin carnem for meat.”
The official Mardi Gras colors were selected in 1892 by the parade committee: “Purple Represents Justice. Green Represents Faith. And Gold Represents Power,” according to Mardi Gras New Orleans.
Why do People Wear Masks During Mardi Gras?
“Mardi Gras and masks go together like peanut butter and jelly; it’s hard to think about one without the other. Whether they cover the wearer’s eyes or whole face, masks add an element of mystery and intrigue when worn, especially around this particular holiday in the city. It’s safe to say that masks are one of our favorite Mardi Gras traditions.
When did the mask tradition start though, and why?
Masks have been worn by different societies for centuries. Some groups wear them for rituals, some for celebrations, and still others for the performing arts. Mardi Gras masks in particular originated in ritual celebrations. New Orleans has been celebrating Mardi Gras for hundreds of years, and is the largest masked party in North America.
In the beginning, masks worn during Mardi Gras allowed wearers to escape society and class constraints. When wearing a mask, carnival goers were free to be whomever they wanted to be, and mingle with whatever class they desired to mingle with. However, they were also considered to be a diversion for poor people, and women who wore masks had their reputation questioned.
Today, everyone wears masks during Mardi Gras. In fact, float riders are required to wear masks by law. On Fat Tuesday, everyone is free to wear masks, adding to the excitement and magic of celebrations throughout the city.
While many masks are simple, there are those who put a lot of pride behind creating elaborate and beautiful ones. One such place is Maskarade, located in the French Quarter. Maskarade carries an extensive collection of masks from local and national artists. They even have some handmade Italian masks created in the old traditional Venetian style. If you’re looking for a mask that’s unique or special, then that’s the place to go.” Mardi Gras New Orleans.
Here just a few fun ideas I found while following the little trails of research I was doing on Mardi Gras . . . I hope that if you celebrate Mardi Gras that you have fun with your friends and family!
from the Mardi Gras Outlet
Please join us this week for the #HomeMattersParty . . . I would love to see how YOU celebrate Mardi Gras!
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