November 28, 2011
History of Mardi
I will be discussing the history of Mardi Gras, King Cakes, beads, mask, and floats. Mardi goes way back to the late 1600’s.Mardi Gras came to the United States in 1699 with a French explorer named Iberville. He sailed into the Gulf of Mexico and headed to the U.S. “On March 3, 1699 Iberville had set up a camp on the west bank of the river 60 miles south of where New Orleans is today” This is when Mardi Gras all began in France. “To honor this important day, Iberville named the site Point du Mardi Gras.” In the late 1700's, the pre-Lenten masked balls and festivals were very popular in New Orleans while it was under French rule. On the other hand when New Orleans went under Spanish rule the custom no longer existed. “The prohibition against masked festivals continued until 1823 when the Creole populace convinced the governor to permit masked balls.” In 1827 street masking became legal. The first parade reported to be in 1837. Sadly, Mardi Gras received a negative reputation because of violent behavior associated to maskers in the 1840's and 50's. The situation got so out of control the press called an end to the celebration. In 1857 six New Orleaneans were able to save Mardi Gras by assembling the Comus organization. These men use to be members of the Cowbellians, an organization which had put on New Year's Eve parades in Mobile since 1831. Comus were named after a mythological character and were the first to use the word krewe. Comus started having secret Carnival societies; their float themes would be unappealing and then would have a ball after the parade. The celebration of Mardi Gras got interrupted by the Civil War, but it returned in 1866. In 1871 is when the custom began with giving a woman a cake with a bean inside. This is a how the king cake tradition started. “In 1872 Grand Duke Alexis Romanoff of Russia visited New Orleans.” Also in 1872 the Krewe of Rex made their appearance and...