Monday, February 19, 2007
Mardi Gras in the USA

Mardi Gras, which in French translates to Fat Tuesday, is officially the day before Ash Wednesday, and is also called Shrove Tuesday or Pancake Day. It can occur anytime between February 3rd and March 9th, depending on when Easter is held that particular year. In 2007 Mardi Gras Day is on February 20th.
New Orleans Mardi Gras, in the US state of Louisiana, is particularly well-known, often called " the greatest free show on earth". The celebrations draw hundreds of thousands of tourists to the city, in addition to the celebrating locals for the parties and parades. Most tourists can be found within the French Quarter, especially in a street called Bourbon Street.
Mardi Gras came to New Orleans with the earliest French settlers. New Orleans developed new traditions, including Carnival organizations called Krewes, and the famous Rex Parade, in addition to Mardi Gras Indians and king cake parties.
Officially, the Mardi Gras season begins on the 12th day after Christmas. Most parades, balls and other festivities occur on weeknights and weekends in the 2-week period before Mardi Gras Day. Though each parade is different, there are certain common ingredients:

1) there is a king of each Krewe, picked from among the Krewe membership;

2) gaily colored floats, ridden by masked and costumed Krewe members, who throw various items,
including beads ( necklaces ), metal coins called doubloons and other fun items;

3) marching bands from local high schools and universities, and often other invited guest bands.

Check out the following websites for more detailed information on this topic:

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