Thursday, February 11, 2010

Mardi Gras Carnival Procession

Mardi Gras Carnival ProcessionMardi Gras Carnival Procession Leeds West Indian Carnival Procession, 2008. Harehills and Chapeltown. 25 August 2008.

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Carnival. Carnival is the season between Twelfth Night and Lent. It is the gayest season of the year in New Orleans, the climax being reached by the costly festivities of Mardi Gras, "fat Tuesday," the eve of Ash Wednesday. The name "Carnival" is derived from two Latin words "carne," "flesh," and "vale," "farewell," hence " farewell to the flesh"; the pleasures of "carnival" are a gay good-by to the flesh which is to be mortified during the penitential season of Lent.

Carnival is of pagan origin. The Romans celebrated the feast of the Pastoral god, Lupercus, on February 15th; goats were sacrificed and two youths clothed in goat skins ran

through the streets hitting with leather thongs the persons they met. The celebration in modified form was kept by the Christian Romans and has been continued to the present day. The custom spread from Rome to other places. New Orleans adopted the Carnival from Paris, but has improved upon it so greatly, that, today, her Carnival is the most noted in the world. The brilliant balls and gorgeous pageants of the last week of Carnival annually attract thousands of visitors to the hospitable metropolis of the Southland.

The custom of having pageants reproducing scenes from history, literature, or art, by means of gorgeously decorated floats was introduced into New Orleans from Mobile. In 1831, an organization of Mobile known as the "Cowbellions," held the first parade of the kind in America.

The Mystic Krewe of Comus was the first to delight the populace of New Orleans by its appearance in the streets. In 1857, they presented scenes from Milton's "Paradise Lost" and then repaired to the old Varieties Theatre for the grand ball with which they entertained their more intimate friends. This merry god and his court annually parade in exquisitely artistic guise in the evening of Mardi Gras; their ball later at the French Opera House is the climax andclose of the brilliant social season.

TEXT CREDIT: Title The New Orleans book. Authors: Emma Cecilia Richey, Evelina Prescott Kean, New Orleans (La.). Board of School Directors. Edition 2. Publisher: Searcy & Pfaff, 1919 Original from: Harvard University. Digitized: Feb 12, 2009
Length 156 pages.

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