MARDI GRAS IN THE BIG EASY
MARDI GRAS is a carnival holiday celebration which begins on or after King's Day and ending on the day before Ash Wednesday. Mardi Gras, which is French for Fat Tuesday, follows the practice of the last night of eating richer and fatty foods before the ritual fasting of the Lenten season, which leads up to the holiday celebration of Easter. The carnival tradition of Mardi Gras in the USA began in the colonial period and blossomed into an extravagant spectacle of excess, decadence and burlesque. Every year, parades and balls are "sponsored by one of the many exclusive carnival organizations, are based upon themes drawn from mythology, history, or fiction and are often satiric of contemporary social issues."1
Kinser, Samuel. Carnival, American Style: Mardi Gras at New Orleans and Mobile. Photographs by Norman Magden. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1990.