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What To Do This Year To Celebrate Mardi Gras

Jul 22, 2008
This year to celebrate Mardi Gras, send out a few free e-cards. Free e-cards are quickly becoming the favored choice over paper cards to celebrate events.

Celebrated on the day before Ash Wednesday, which marks the beginning of the penitence of Lent, Carnival is a time to let loose of all inhibitions and relax, often in a drunken, rowdy manner, if the annual spectacle of Mardi Gras is any kind of indication.

The celebration of the last day before Lent dates back to at least the Middle Ages, when men of noble lineage or accomplishment were knighted and formal banquets took place to honor the occasion.

Mardi Gras, which means 'Fat Tuesday' in French as an alternate name for Shrove Tuesday, was established in New Orleans while the city was under French control, and was maintained as a major festival even when the territory was relinquished into Spanish hands, as well as after the Louisiana Purchase was signed and the state of Louisiana officially joined the Union.

Characterized by costumes, bright decorations, and general merriment, often induced by the consumption of alcohol, the celebration came close to being banned several times during the 19th century, but the formation of a social organization (krewe) by six men and the resulting Carnival Parade on the evening of Mardi Gras in 1857 rejuvenated and restructured the mayhem.

Though the festivities were halted for the duration of the Civil War, they resumed in full force upon its conclusion.

New krewes have been formed continuously since the first parade and are added as space allows annually. The parades in New Orleans now begin up to three weeks before Mardi Gras, with the Carnival season officially starting on the January 6th, the Feast of Epiphany.

The French Quarter of the city is the heart of the celebration, which concludes promptly at midnight on Mardi Gras, with the police asking revelers to scatter, and the massive clean up getting under way.

The krewe system was originally a hierarchical method that showcased the elite of the Carnival, and usually New Orleans society.

However, in the latter part of the 20th century, the exclusivity of the krewes was tempered by the formation of new, more democratic krewes, for which no credentials were required.

Though debutante balls and other high society events marking the holiday are still prominent, they are no longer the only way to participate in the excitement.

A trip to New Orleans during Carnival season is highly recommended if you wish to see everything first-hand, but if that is too long a way from home, try setting up a Carnival parade in your city, or neighborhood.

You need to organize some participants, get plenty of festive decorations, and start thinking of the most outrageous costumes, not to mention get the permission and cooperation of local authorities. If that is hard to come by, throwing a Carnival-themed party is another great way of sharing the thrill of Mardi Gras.

If you are planning to be in New Orleans for the holiday, get the latest parade schedules and other relevant information in advance. Also get details about how to throw the most authentic Mardi Gras party wherever you are going to spend the Carnival.

Millions of free e-cards are sent each year, join in this year and send a free e-card of your own.
About the Author
Andrew Gibson is MD of Greeting-Cards.com. It has thousands of free ecards to choose from for birthdays and all occasions. Many people now send Free e-cards to celebrate Mardi Gras and select them from http://www.Greeting-Cards.com
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