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Photo by: Angelle Gaspard
February 13, 2017
In Southern Louisiana, we pride ourselves in perfecting the gumbo recipe that has been passed down for generations, singing Tee Nah Nah as loud as possible and how to properly spend our Mardi Gras season.
Many historians believe the first Mardi Gras took place in 1699 in New Orleans. This makes Mardi Gras a celebration of our culture and tradition that has been going on for over 300 hundred years. Here in the south, we do not hide our crazy. Instead, we parade it down the street with massive floats, bands performing from schools all over the country and a King and Queen of it all. Carnival is approaching quickly, so here are four ways to prepare for the Mardi Gras season.
Eat as much King Cake as possible
It truly isn’t Mardi Gras season until King Cakes show up in the stores and bakeries. Here in Louisiana, we anticipate the sinful sugar glaze drizzled pastry, stuffed with a surprise filling, all year round. When it’s finally time to indulge, we can’t get enough. We also love the tradition that comes along with it. Whoever bites into the piece baked with a baby is given the responsibility of bringing another cake to wherever the party is next.
Look out for parade schedules
Everyone in Louisiana has one parade that we hold near and dear to our hearts, depending on where we are from. We anxiously await for the dates of our hometown parades in order to mark it off in our calendars. At the beginning of January, the preparation begins by searching for the parade schedules. Once the date is set, we begin scouting for the best spots to claim. Once the day arrives, we pull out our ancient bead collecting bags from the attic and prepare for the fun.
Break out the green, purple and yellow
Everyone has one Mardi Gras shirt that they hide in the back of their closet for 11 months out of the year. It sits there patiently waiting to make its annual debut. Whether it’s a shirt passed down from generations or a new one you just couldn’t pass up, we cannot wait to parade down the street in our purple, green and yellow. Not only do we collect shirts in these colors, but we make it a goal to own everything from socks, shoes, pants, ponytails, hats and even fingernails in these colors. The more items that you own in these signature colors help show just how much you love the season.
Plan the celebration
Although we’ve held these traditions for years, it doesn’t mean the preparation for the celebration gets any easier. It’s a challenging task to invite and gather all of our family and friends, and it’s even harder to provide all the food they can eat. Anyone who lives along the parade route knows just how crucial it is to have these essentials ready. The celebration before and after the parade passes is just as important as screaming “Throw me something mister” at the top of your lungs. However, when the day of the parade comes, are you’re being bombed with beads by riders, all of the planning is well worth it.
Mardi Gras is a huge part of who we are and how we live down here in Louisiana. We should all be proud of that and eager to celebrate it. Laissez les bons temps rouler!