A) Parades B) Partying
C) Beads and Doubloons D) Revelry 24/7 for a month
E) Music F) More parades and parties
G) All of the above
Any answer would be correct but (G) would be the most accurate.
When I lived in the Big Easy, my second tour of college, I got the Mardi Gras bug like everyone else on campus. Unless you turn into a hermit and don't leave your home/dormitory for a few weeks up until Fat Tuesday, which is today, then it's impossible to avoid the parades with their bright colored floats and marching bands. Everywhere you look
are ubiquitous - just like Barq's root beer.....
(flashback to 1979: saw an advertisement on the side of a city bus with a picture of an icy bottle of Barq's and a single word: Ubiquitious...to this day I can't hear that word without getting thirsty:-)
The first Mardi Gras parade was held in New Orleans on Feb. 24, 1857, hosted by the Krewe of Comus. They began the tradition of presenting a parade with floats and following up with a ball for the krewe and their guests. Mardi Gras is the final day of revelry before Ash Wednesday, when the season of Lent begins. Or in secular terms, party now because it'll be six weeks before you get to again!
If you're curious about how many parades there've been prior to today, here's a link to the schedule and parade locations: Mardi Gras
The most popular and well attended parades happen today: Krewe of Zulu early in the morning, followed by Krewe of Rex. Both start Uptown and end Downtown. Rex is considered a centerpiece of the festival because of its rich and colorful themes, maskers in original costumes atop elaborately decorated and hand-painted floats. This Krewe is the origin of many Mardi Gras traditions, including the official Carnival colors of purple, green and gold, [not just random colors, they have a meaning: Purple stands for justice, Green for faith, Gold for power] and the collectible doubloon coins. A caution to anyone attending parades: beads and doubloon catching can incite mini riots among the crowds. I am not exaggerating. I have been in the midst of a couple. Not the instigator, thank you very much. Just at the wrong place at the right time.
member of the Zulu parade
Two things I liked as much if not more than the parades were:
1)King Cake; more a bread than cake, usually oval in shape, King Cakes can be unfilled or filled with cremes and fruit fillings and frosted. They're always sprinkled with purple, green and gold sugar. Baked inside the cake is a tiny plastic baby or a bean. If you get the slice with either of those, you have to buy the next King Cake. If you have a job that requires a lot of meetings like the one I had when I lived in New Orleans, eat in moderation. Your hips will thank you.
2) the music, especially Hey Pocky-A-Away, Go To The Mardi Gras, (Professor Longhair), The Mardi Gras Mambo, and Iko Iko. The last one is performed by Dr. John in the YouTube video below...(if you work in a library or a quiet setting, listen with headphones or wait until you get home!)