Everything You Need to Know about Mardi Gras
If Endymion, Bacchus, Zulu and Rex sound like secret government codes to you, then you’ll enjoy Mardi Gras even more.
Don’t know what we’re talking about?
Let us explain.
They say it’s hard to be surprised anymore, especially with everything and every place so accessible in our modern times. But maybe it’s not the surprise of seeing the unseen itself that makes our hearts skip a bit, but the deep, powerful emotions we immerse ourselves into every time we reach a destination. And, no one can argue that New Orleans is a city that speaks to the heart.
A Bit of History
The Mardi Gras celebration, also known as the Fat Tuesday, came about as a French Catholic tradition in the 17th century. It was established by Le Moyne brothers who were sent by King Louis XIV to claim the current land of Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana and eastern Texas. The two managed to make camp sixty miles downriver from where today New Orleans is, on the day the French celebrated Mardi Gras. That is why the holiday has easily become a custom ever since the colonists settled there.
Although other cities with French colonial heritage in the US have active Mardi Gras celebrations – from Pensacola and Florida to Lafayette –, when New Orleans became the capital of Louisiana in 1723, it also established itself as the epicenter of the holiday.
To the current day, the slogan “Laissez les bons temps rouler,” which beautifully translates into “Let the good times roll,” sets up the tone for one of the best carnivals in the country. The celebration starts in January and ends on the last Tuesday before Ash Wednesday, the debut of a 40 day period of fasting and good behavior in the Catholic calendar.
Now it’s starting to make sense why they call this day “fat.” It signals the end of a rich period of good food and good life.
A Whole Lot of Fun
If the idea of a carnival parade excites you (Rio de Janeiro, anyone?), then Mardi Gras in New Orleans should be a must on your “celebrations to attend” list. Maybe not as famous as the Brazilian event, you can rest assured that you’ll find plenty of fun and excitement here as well. The French are experts when it comes to “joie de vivre, ” and they know how to translate this way of life into everything they do. Their celebrations include explosive colors, loud music and a plethora of fun traditions to get the good times rolling.
First, they organize themselves in “krewes,” which is pronounced similarly and is also a synonym of the English “crew.” Every group holds a different feast, that is dedicated to the weirdest or the craziest things you could think of, from dogs and toilets to the Roman God of drinking wine. Hence, the names we threw in the introduction that sound completely insane to a modern citizen of the world, but which make perfect sense to the Mardi Gras holders of traditions.
Expect hundreds and thousands of rainbow colored beads to be thrown at you since this is a famous custom. Expect to party hard and laugh even harder. The food and drinks flamboyantly flow from every street corner, and the vibe exceeds the standard holiday fun. So even if you’ve traveled the world and seen it all, a couple of days of Mardi Gras will certainly fuel up the level of joy in your life.
If you haven’t made plans for the end of February, then you should book a private jet flight from Mountain Aviation and enjoy one of the best celebrations in the world in style.