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Origins of Mardi Gras

Mardi Gras finds its origins in the Roman tradition of Carnival, which is Latin for "kiss your flesh goodbye." It is the long season between Christmas and Lent in which the Romans indulged in food and drink more than normal in preparation for the fasting which would come with the advent of Lent.  Mardi Gras itself (also know as Fat Tuesday) is the day before Ash Wednesday, the last day to overindulge before the self sacrifices of Lent. The actual date for Ash Wednesday changes from year to year depending on the date of Easter. 


Future Mardi Gras dates include:

2008 . . . February 5
. . . February 24
. . . February 16
. . . March 8
2012 . . . February 21

2013 . . . February 12

2014 . . . March 4
. . . February 17
. . . February 9
. . . February 26
. . . February 13
. . . March 5
2020 . . . February 25

Mardi Gras Cajun Style

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A man dressed like a Southern belle. A pregnant woman dressed like Humpty Dumpty. A whole family dressed up like Dalmatians. It could only be Carnival Time in Louisiana! The beads, the balls and the king cake babies of Mardi Gras are all calling your name.

Just as the Cajun and Creole cultures are known for their wonderful food, so Cajun Country is known for the fabulous spice it adds to the Mardi Gras celebration. Only in Acadiana will you find the mystery of Mardi Gras blended with Cajun and Creole magic to cook up one of the most colorful and unique pre-Lenten celebrations in the world.

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Worldwide, Mardi Gras is known as a time to cut loose from the daily grind and partake in a "no-holds barred" celebration in the spirit of utter abandonment. Mardi Gras in Cajun Country has it all - music, costumes, balls and parades - without the hassles of a big city. We promise high-spirited excitement and revelry in a friendly, family atmosphere.


Lafayette Mardi Gras

Mardi Gras in Lafayette has grown to become the second largest Mardi Gras celebration in Louisiana. Recently, Le Festival de Mardi Gras Lafayette and a new parade have joined the revelry to expand Lafayette's Mardi Gras to a five-day event.


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In Lafayette, you can celebrate Mardi Gras with parades and special events. Le Festival de Mardi Gras Lafayette, held Mardi Gras weekend, features rides and games on the carnival midway, live bands on the sound stage, and a prime spot for parade viewing. The parades also roll through downtown Lafayette, where you can participate in a costume contest and dance in the streets to live Cajun and Zydeco music Mardi Gras day. While most balls are private affairs, the Southwest Louisiana Mardi Gras Association and the Krewe of Triton open their pomp and splendor to the public.

Courir de Mardi Gras

The Courir de Mardi Gras (Mardi Gras run) is Cajun Country's traditional rural celebration dating back to the earliest days of settlement. With its roots firmly in the medieval tradition of ceremonial begging, bands of masked and costumed horseback riders roam the countryside "begging" for ingredients for their communal gumbo. "Le Capitaine," a caped but unmasked captain, leads the riders from house to house where they dance and sing for donations such as chicken, sausage, rice and onions to be used in the gumbo. The day's festivities end with a fais-do-do (dance) and lots of gumbo for Mardi Gras revelers. There are dozens of Courirs des Mardi Gras in the towns and villages surrounding Lafayette and some of them can make arrangements for visitors to participate in the run.

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New Orleans Mardi Gras

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The New Orleans festivities span the length of Carnival: beginning on January 6th -- the Twelfth Night Feast of the Epiphany -- and ending on "Fat Tuesday" (Mardi Gras day), 46 days before Easter. In the New Orleans area, more than sixty parades roll, including the big ones--Rex, Bacchus and Endymion.

Mardi Gras is music, parades, picnics, floats, excitement ... and one big holiday in New Orleans!   Everyone is wearing purple, green, and gold; and adorned with long beads caught from the beautiful floats. They sit on the ground throwing balls, playing music, having a picnic, and watching the crowds walk by between parades.

All of the businesses and roads are practically shut down -- people are walking everywhere and meeting new friends.  People are dressed in crazy costumes, kids are everywhere, and they love it! 

louisiana.gif (482 bytes)Click to go to Official Louisiana Website

BulletBlueSpiral.gif (165 bytes)Lafayette: Heartland of French Louisiana

BulletBlueSpiral.gif (165 bytes)Cajun Country

BulletBlueSpiral.gif (165 bytes)Cajun Dictionary


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Last updated 10/14/06