A Brief History of the Greatest Party on Earth Memories of Mardi Gras
T here is nothing quite like Mardi Gras, and there is nothing quite like Mardi Gras down home in Louisiana. From the Big Raggedy to New Orleans proper, the sights and sounds of the month-long party take over long before and long after the official celebration begins. It’s hard to put into words just how integral Mardi Gras is to our culture around here. You can’t really describe it in a way outsiders would understand, but every Louisiana faithful knows that it’s not just an excuse to have a good time; it’s ingrained in the very culture we stand and fight for every day. And we’re not alone; people have been enjoying Fat Tuesday for thousands of years now. It just so happens that we’ve figured out how to do it best. The roots of Mardi Gras dig deep and wide, branching out all over the world. What started with pagan celebrations of springtime and fertility in ancient Rome turned into Christian celebrations of indulgence before the fasting and penance period of Lent. Despite the changes, one thing remained constant through the years: It’s the right time to have a good time. Historically, it has been a time to let your hair down and live a little before going back to the righteous lives we normally live. Joyous festival-goers would happily take the opportunity to gorge themselves on fatty foods and dairy before having to survive on next to nothing while they fasted for the next few weeks. This is where the term“Fat Tuesday” comes from. While it’s changed a lot through the years, the spirit of the event has always remained the same: celebrating our prosperity. Fast forward a few centuries, and the very first Mardi Gras would take place in present-day New Orleans when French explorers Le Moyne D’Iberville and Sieur De Bienville — they really knew how
four times the population of New Orleans by the time the dust settles.
to name them back then — landed in the area and decided to mark the occasion by throwing a party. They were only getting started. The fire was just lit, but the flames were about to be seen across the world. By 1827, what we consider to be modern day Mardi Gras celebrations began to take form. A group of students threw on some colorful costumes and promenaded through the streets with joy, with their group growing larger and larger as they went. This tradition turned into a full-blown parade about a decade later. By 1857, an alleged secret society of businessmen calling themselves the Mistick Krewe of Comus led a group of marching bands and floats down the streets, giving birth to the momentous and lavish celebrations we’ve come to expect year in and year out. For a while there, it seemed like another facet of the tradition was added every year. From throwing beads and eating King Cake to having street performers put on the show of a lifetime, it is now a tradition unlike any other — and we aim to keep it that way. Today, nearly 1.5 million people come through to take in the festivities every year. That’s nearly
The unfortunate reality of Mardi Gras is that there can be a lot of danger with that much fun and celebration in one place. People get to drinking, and they don’t know quite how to handle themselves in moderation. If you find yourself in a bind after being injured by the negligence of another individual, no matter what time of year it is, you know who to call. Your friends at the Law Office of Dathan L. Hill will fight to get you the compensation you deserve.
Bon Mardi Gras, everybody.
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