The single word "Carnival" recalls celebration, joy and jubilation: confetti and streamers, disguises, make-up and wigs are the emblems that have always distinguished this period of the year that precedes the greater austerity that Lent imposes.
In United States it is a particularly heartfelt party, especially around New Orleans where the celebrations take on the most colorful and joyful outlines ever.
Carnival is certainly not a recent invention, on the contrary: its roots go back to Roman times. Celebrated during the Middle Ages and in the following centuries throughout Europe, it landed in the New World with the arrival of the French colonists who brought the traditions of the mother country.
Already in the eighteenth century there were the first germs of the organizations (krewe) that were dedicated to the preparation of the parades, just as we currently know them, and around 1730 the celebration assumed the characters almost matching the current ones.
Today, despite the name, the celebrations of Shrove Tuesday embrace, temporally speaking, much longer periods: starting from the Epiphany until the Tuesday preceding the Ashes, the atmosphere of New Orleans is always festive and joyful, peaking in the past two weeks.
This year, the parades began on February 15th and, from February 28th to March 4th, they will take on a more frequent and more important frequency: for this year we will not be able to miss (among others) the sparkling participants of the Caesar parade (February 22), particularly loved by the little ones as it represents the Disney parade; the Hermes on the back of the white horse that opens the parade of the same name (February 28), while that of Bacchus (March 2) it will not fail to shock you with its mind-boggling numbers (over a thousand participants and about thirty floats).
A particularly interesting aspect is assumed by the parade of the Indians which is never announced in advance, but co-participates within the others. The parade of the Super Sunday(Super Sunday), which traditionally falls on the third Sunday in March (16 this year), close to St. Joseph's Day - March 19, which sees the Indians themselves.
The atmosphere of New Orleans, in the days of Mardi Gras, is literally indescribable: the parades are held in numerous areas of the city, in order to substantially involve the entire urban area and make the party as universal as possible. The ideal would be to participate wearing a costume or come up with an original disguise, however if we have forgotten the Harlequin dress or the Smurf outfit at home we can also pay homage to the celebration, wearing clothes or accessories by color viola (symbol of justice), green (faith) e gold (power), symbolic colors of the event. Let's not forget to wear comfortable shoes and to bring a large bag to fill it with objects that the extras will throw from the floats which, alternatively, we can wear as an ornament, as many prefer.
During Mardi Gras, the city becomes from top to bottom, far and wide, a stage of celebration and joy, leaving the offices closed and postponing business until tomorrow: it will not be a coincidence that the “Greatest Free Show on Earth” falls today, as Neworleans usually say.
Experiencing Mardi Gras in New Orleans will be a real blessing: we still have time to leave, without forgetting confetti and streamers at home (as well as a toothbrush).
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