Shrove Tuesday, the day before Ash Wednesday, is the religious name for Mardi Gras. New Orleans's fabled French Quarter, a neighborhood along Bourbon Street, is the center of Mardi Gras activities.
The Brazilian celebration is called Carnival. Portuguese immigrants first celebrated Carnival in Rio in the early 1800s with a game called entrudo, during which poor people sprayed each other with mud and sewage, while the elite used perfume sprays. The first masked ball was held in 1840, while the first street parades took place a few years later. They have evolved into a vast spectacle involving thousands of participants and hundreds of thousands of spectators.
Around 1900 in New Orleans there was increasing interaction between poor black musicians, whose drum playing was influenced by African musical styles, and mixed-race Creoles, who were trained in European classical music. The fusion of the various traditions created jazz, which soon spread up the Mississippi River to Memphis and Chicago, and across the country to Harlem, New York.
"Krewe" is a fanciful spelling of "crew." In 1857 a group of men founded the Krewe of Comus, because they feared the wild antics at Mardi Gras would prompt the authorities to stop the celebrations. They felt a secret organization might have a better chance of surviving. Since then, a number of other krewes have been established.
King Cakes are large, round cinnamon rolls covered with white icing and sprinkled with the Mardi Gras colors. A plastic baby the size of an almond is hidden inside. Whoever finds the baby is the next king or queen and must host the next King Cake party.
In 1872 Russian grand duke Alexis Romanoff visited New Orleans during Mardi Gras. A group of businessmen organized the Krewe of Rex to hold a parade and named a king and queen for the day, a tradition that has endured. They also used the colors of the House of Romanoff: purple for justice, green for faith, and gold for power. These have remained the official colors of Mardi Gras.
These are random musings of my life journey, the people, animals, places, and events which have woven, and continue to weave, a tapestry that is me. We all know there is no real destination, only the ongoing experiences which blend together, creating the trail. Each step gives a glimpse of what is to come, without allowing me to see the end result. It is exciting. I have a home base that is mine, that gives me a place to rest. This is it. This is where my heart is, no matter where I journey...................
Tuesday, February 24, 2009
Some special trivia for Mardi Gras!!!