Isaiah 6:8

8 Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?”And I said, “Here am I. Send me!”

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Laissez Les Bon Temps Roulez

I have never been to Mardi Gras.  I am not a huge fan of large, out-of-control crowds. I am not really sure if I like the idea of it at all.  I think the masks are scary. I do knowthough  that it is a time to party it up, and!!  In America it seems that we don't need many excuses for this....but Fat Tuesday is the day before Ash Wednesday. It is also known as Mardi Gras Day or Shrove Day. It is a day when people eat all they want of everything and anything they want because the following day is Ash Wednesday, the beginning of a long fasting period for Christians. In addition to fasting, Christians also give up something special that they enjoy. So, Fat Tuesday is a celebration and the opportunity to enjoy that favorite food or snack that you give up for the long lenten season.  Frank and I are giving up some time.  We are going to do a 40 day prayer vigil in which we will be praying together every day during the Lenten period.  I am excited about this.  I have done the give up chocolate, diet cokes, etc....Frank has even tried to give up work for 40 days....but I have never let him enjoy that one.  This year we thought it would be different to give up some of ourselves.  I did not know until I researched it that the origins of Mardi Gras can be traced to Medival Europe, though we have no written record of how that really transformed into the current Mardi Gras of today. But the origins of the Mardi Gras we celebrate today -- with Kings, Mardi Gras colors, and brass bands -- are traced to New Orleans(according to some)...Mobile (according to others).  Although we can trace its history to the Romans, a French-Canadian explorer, Jean Baptiste Le Moyne Sieur de Bienville, landed on a plot of ground 60 miles directly south of New Orleans in 1699 and called it "Pointe due Mardi Gras." He also established "Fort Louis de la Louisiane" (which is now Mobile) in 1702. In 1703, the tiny settlement of Fort Louis de la Mobile celebrated the very first Mardi Gras.  In 1704, Mobile established a secret society (Masque de la Mobile) ... similar to those who form our current Mardi Gras Krewes. It lasted until 1709. In 1710, the "Boeuf Graf Society" was formed and paraded from 1711 through 1861. The procession was held with a huge bull's head pushed alone on wheels by 16 men. This occurred on Fat Tuesday.  New Orleans was established in 1718 by Jean-Baptise Le Moyne. By the 1730s, Mardi Gras was celebrated openly in New Orleans.. but not in parade form. In the early 1740s, Louisiana's Governor The Marquis de Vaudreuil established elegant society balls -- the model for the New Orleans Mardi Gras balls of today.  The earliest reference to Mardi Gras "Carnival" appears in a 1781 report to the Spanish colonial governing body. That year, the Perseverance Benevolent & Mutual Aid Association is the first of hundreds of clubs and carnival organizations formed in New Orleans.  By the late 1830s, New Orleans held street processions of maskers with carriages and horseback to celebrate Mardi Gras. Newspapers began to announce Mardi Gras events in advance.  In 1871, Mardi Gras's second "Krewe" is formed, the Twelfth Night Reveler's, with the first account of Mardi Gras "throws."  1872 was the year that a group of businessmen invented a King of Carnival -- Rex -- to parade in the first daytime parade. They introduced the Mardi Gras colors of purple, green and gold; the Mardi Gras song, and the Mardi Gras flag.  In 1873, the first floats were constructed entirely in New Orleans instead of France. In 1875, Governor Warmoth of Louisiana signs the "Mardi Gras Act" making it a legal holiday in Louisiana, which is still is.  Did You Know? On Bourbon street in New Orleans, store owners coat poles and columns with vaseline to keep wild and rowdy revelers from climbing them (and perhaps falling).  Personally I can't wait for tomorrow and Ash Wednesday.  I love this reflective time that leads to Easter.  God Bless You All Today!


Mary said...

I don't enjoy big crowds either...I always said that I wanted to go to Mardi Gras just once, but now that I'm older, I'm over it. How cool is it that y'all have decided to spend time together in prayer. That's something we've never done outside of church (except for grace before meals).

Sweet Tea said...

I had never been to a Mardi Gras parade until I moved to Louisiana. They are great fun here. There is one area that is known to be "Family Friendly & alocohol free" - the heavy partiers go elsewhere. As the floats roll by they throw beads, stuffed animals, plastic cups, etc. And everyone gathers them like they are precious gold. Very fun, especially when the weather is nice.