Mardi Gras

Ok, how did New Orleans get associated with Mardi Gras? Yes, I see a slight French connection here, but does any other city have a Mardi Gras celebration? ie: Paris?
And, if you say it’s Cajun (actually, Acadian), you don’t see any related celebration in Nova Scotia, either. (The Acadians were exiled from here, although some heritage remains there and into New Brunswick and ME, I believe.

Does anyone know the history?

Carnival is celebrated in most Roman Catholic areas and also (I think) in Eastern Orthodox areas. It generally lasts several days, climaxing on the day before Ash Wednesday. The day is called Shrove Tuesday in English and Mardi Gras (“Fat Tuesday”) in French. Carnival (probably from Latin carnem levare, “to set aside meat”) marks a period of reveling before the deprivation of Lent.

Rio de Janeiro’s carnival is probably more famous world-wide than that of New Orleans.

I once did a report on the New Orleans celebration for a newsletter. According to the information I found in an encyclopedia, not sure which one, French settlers from Mobile brought the tradition with them.

Jeff olsen is correct. They do have a Mardi Gras celebration in Mobile Alabama, however I don’t think it is celebrated the same day. The tradition has spread through most of Southern Louisiana including all the suburbs of New Orleans. Each town has their own Krewes and days that they celebrate. For instance, Madisonville has a boat parade on the Sunday before Mardi Gras every year. The Krewe of Tchefuncte because it is held in the Tchefuncte River (pronounced chew-funk-tee). And they have gone so far as to have a dog parade, it is called the Krewe of Barkus. I don’t know how it originally started and being from Amite, LA that makes me ashamed. I just never questioned why, I just knew that it was. I do know that every year the Travel Channel has coverage of Mardi Gras and they tell the history. There is a even an all day parade in Mamou, LA that I’m told is really amazing. They dress as real Indians and chase chickens and the day ends with everyone eating the chickens. (picture Survivor). I wish I knew exactly when the first Mardi Gras was and why…I will ask around and get back to you. Thanks for making me wonder…Gee, thanks.

JINX…You can read alot more at

(Sorry, I have no idea how to make this internet address look right, but if you type it in it tells the whole history)

I hope this helps. Ever hear about the great King Cakes?


Welcome to the SDMB, roseyray!

My SO (DrMatrix) is from Amite. We just finished doing the King Cake party series at our weekly NYC get-together.


[continuing hijack]

I grew up in Amite. Crispy lives in Ponchatoula, LA which is (I think) also in Tangipahoa parish.

Cajun Man is from Houma, LA.


lent in the orthodox church starts at sundown on forgiveness sunday. by the time tuesday rolls around you’re in your second day of lent and in church serving the canon of st andrew of crete. no tradition for carnival or marti gras. the russian church has a tradition of serving bliny on forgiveness sunday, the last day for dairy products. bliny are crepes with cheese or fruit or both as a filling, served with sour cream. the sunday before (prodigal son sunday) is the last day for meat products.

forgiveness sunday is the day you ask forgiveness of everyone you may have or did offend throughout the year. fasting from meat and dairy products starts at sundown that day and continues until midnight pascha morning.

Sydney also has pretty well known Mardi Gras that has it’s parade tomorrow night. As usual, Rev Fred Nile and cohorts are praying for it to rain on the parade.

Lots of cities have Carnival / Mardi Gras celebrations. To name a few of the most famous. Rio (obviously) others is Brazil include san paulo (sp?), basically all of Brazil gets crazy. Venice has a famous carnival celebration as does Maastricht. I’m sure I’m omitting many others but those are just a few of teh more famous ones. Here in teh US, After New Orleans, St. Louis has the second largest celebration. And unfortunately after the riots Seattle and Phili will no longer be having any parties

How old is Mardi Gras? Old. Really old. There was a canadian tv production called ‘the fat man goes cajun’ which had some good footage of rural louisiana Mardi Gras. In that documentary it was stated that the mardi gras tradition was brought to the US from France in the 1600s. I don’t know if there is any mardi gras in France currently.

There are basically 2 types of mardi gras. The New Orleans style Carnival and the rural ‘chicken run’ style. The chicken run mardi gras is a french catholic version of the jewish barmitva (sp). What I’m trying to say is that it was a comming of age tradition for young boys. The boys and men would dress up in costume and ride the countryside from farm to farm. The boys would ‘steal’ chickens, potatos, rice, eggs, etc… and the men would supervise. This was the manner in witch the boys proved they were ready to be providers. They could now be men because they could ‘feed’ their ‘families.’ The gathered food would be served at a local dance and dining hall that evening.

In modern days both men and women often take part, but this was once a controversial subject.

(although I am not the Cajunman I am a cajunman so ask any questions you wish. Since everyone else said where they were from-I’m from Basile, LA)

As I’ve said in The city you live in, I’m not from Louisiana but I’ve lived there. Specificly, we rented a house in Kenner, 3 blocks from New Orleans International. My parents later bought a house in Harahan, less than a block from the levee. The area is a great place for a teenager, especially if the teen likes bicycling. I had a Schwinn one speed that was handed down from my brothers. I rode that thing all around Kenner, Metairie & Harahan until an axle broke. There was, and possibly still is, a two block square undeveloped area in Metairie at Illinois Ave. & 24th Street. Great place to take a bicycle or an ATV, as long as it’s not too muddy.

Several coastal cities in Mississippi have Mardi Gras celebrations and parades. The Catholic population in the state is concentrated there, and the proximity to New Orleans and Mobile helps as well.

Yeah, but it ain’t Mardi Gras. Mardi Gras means fat Tuesday. I know that Mardi Gras has drifted away from any religous assiciation it once had and I don’t even celebrate (observe?) lent, but there is just something that’s just wrong with celebrating Mardi Gras during lent.


San Jose and Monterey, CA had riots, too. I hate to be a party-pooper, but it just doesn’t seem right for a city with no Mardi Gras tradition to just latch on to an excuse to get drunk in the streets (cf. St. Patrick’s Day & Cinco De Mayo).

Here’s an idea–you can’t celebrate Mardi Gras unless you also observe Lent. :slight_smile:

Thanks to Cajun Man and Dr. Matrix for the welcome.

Yes, Ponchatoula is abot 35 minutes from my house.
It is good to know that people from around here are
on the boards. I feel properly welcomed now. Thanks to you guys.

We had a Mardi gras on Cannery Row in California & a big riot later at around 10pm.

The news said that women bared their breasts in order to get a bead & this is when the riot started. That’s the first time I heard about that. Why is this breast thing a part of this celebration?