It is a day to dress up and do crazy things if you want to. You can do that on ANY day associated with an official Mardi Gras function, especially a parade day, and especially if you are fortunate enough to be in the parade.
Our pre-parade check-up included sorting and hanging beads on hangers easily accessible by everyone on the float, because at the parade, when the float rolls, the beads have to fly.
Mardi Gras season commences right after New Year's and continues until midnight Tuesday night, the night just before Ash Wednesday, the first day of Lent, which is a 40 day period of time (not counting Sunday's) of introspection and contrition to reflect on one's spiritual condition leading up to Easter.
Usually it is a time of some degree of sacrifice and fasting. Therefore the reason for the big party on Fat Tuesday is it's your last chance to kick up your heels before the austere weeks of Lent begin at midnight.
Lots of folks give up something for Lent. Last Ash Wednesday, my younger brother in Memphis posted on his Facebook Page that a friend of his announced he was giving up swearing for Lent. To which my brother replied that he'd have to give up driving in Memphis, too, if he couldn't swear.
Mardi Gras is most associated with New Orleans, although people in Mobile are quick to point out it was celebrated there first in the New World.
We have parades in Mississippi, too, most notably on the Coast and in Natchez. And in Natchez, there are the accompanying Mardi Gras Balls that go on nearly every weekend leading up to Fat Tuesday. But ANYONE will quickly tell you the parade is the most fun part.
In New Orleans Mardi Gras is for grown ups. On the coast it is way more family friendly.
In Natchez, the parades are for the kids. They line the streets and yell for beads.
Mardi Gras season is a good diversion from the bleakest days of the year in mid-winter. And then at the beginning of Lent, spring is just waking up.
And in 40 days (by the time you can cuss again) the world will be green and warm and in full bloom at Easter.
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Tuesday, September 2 2014 7:39 PM EDT2014-09-02 23:39:10 GMT
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