Culture & Art

Feb 1, 2017

CARNIVAL IN NEW ORLEANS CHIC AND MYTHOLOGICAL

If you celebrate Carnival, you may have heard the French designation "Mardi Gras" ("Fat Tuesday" in English), that is, the day when this celebration happens, almost all over the world. Discover the history of Carnival and get behind the scenes of one of the most famous carnival stages on the planet - New Orleans, in the United States of America (USA).

<

"Bourbon Street" in the French Quarter of New Orleans, USA, is a street that doesn´t sleep, bustling at any time of day or night, and where music "wins a kind of soul" in the clubs, pubs and street corners. The jazz, blues and country music bands play permanently.

Surrounded by the Gulf of Mexico on one side, and the Mississippi River on the other, New Orleans is a city always in full swing. Here it can be said that it is always Carnival, because at any time of the year it is possible to visit the backstage of one of the biggest carnivals in the world, and to see in loco the cars, props and the artists preparing the parades, being one of the main tourist attractions and obligatory passage point.

Being a party marked by "goodbye to meat", it is noted that meat is a very present element in almost all Carnival celebrations, perhaps, to contrast with its deprivation in the days that follow, as we will see later.

Contrary to Brazilian Carnival, meat does not play the leading role in the New Orleans Carnival, nor are there kings, queens, or stars as protagonists. The parades are dedicated to mythological characters such as Endymion, Orpheus, Bacchus and to the King Zulu. The New Orleans Carnival is also known for plaster masks, shell necklaces and the bands that accompany the parade and cheer the revelers. Being a cosmopolitan city, with mainly Spanish, French and African influences, it is natural that these cultural manifestations have aspects of those civilizations. The purple, green and gold colours are prevalent in week-long parades and celebrations and include picnics along the Mississippi River and masked balls.

Imagine the work and logistics needed to make the Carnival happen, so when one is over, the next one starts to be prepared, so throughout the year you can visit the "shed" where are the costumes, allegories, the big dolls and the cars that will parade in the city´s Carnival. During the visit, you have the possibility to see the artisans sawing wood, painting, sculpting, measuring, gluing, that is, to create and shape the parades. In addition, the "World of Mardi Gras", as the space is known, offers visitors the opportunity to wear typical costumes of the local Carnival. The visit also includes a video and a tour of the Carnival history and customs. If you're addicted to goodies, try a piece of "King Cake", the traditional "Mardi Gras" cake made in honour of the "Three Wise Men".

Those who aren´t Carnival adept, will wonder why there is so much enthusiasm around this period, where dances, parades and the use of different costumes, often unusual and with bizarre characters, provide such folly.

As the name indicates, the word Carnival originates in the Latin "carnis levale", "carnis" means meat and "levale", to withdraw. Hence the expression "goodbye to meat", that is, the festival indicates a period of abstinence and fasting, which led people to make a sort of "goodbye to meat" with generally extravagant festivities, depending on the customs of each place. Although there is no unanimity about the origin of the word, the etymological interpretation of it refers to the beginning of the Lenten period, a 40-day break for spiritual reflection and deprivation in the excesses committed during the year, including, according with the Catholic religion, food like meat. To counter this period, the party is marked on "Fat Tuesday" or "Mardi Gras", the French word for Carnival, because the days of celebration were called "fat". This bound with France gave it a chic connotation as well. With Victorian society of the twentieth century it was rooted, but it is Paris that exports it to cities like Nice, in France, Santa Cruz de Tenerife, Spain, New Orleans, EUA, Toronto, Canada and Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. It is true that, except Greece, in the middle of the years 600 to 520 B.C., where it consisted in a form of gratitude to the Gods, Carnival always had a connotation with the search for pleasures. Activities and business were suspended, slaves temporarily released, and the moral restraints were relaxed. Gifts were exchanged, a king was chosen to rule the procession, and even the God "Saturn" was invited to participate in the revelry, because the wool straps that bound the statue's feet were removed.

More Articles

FeaturedArticles

  • the7virtues1

    Science & Nature

    Sep 24, 2018

    THE 7 VIRTUES

    Exotic and humanitarian fragrances

    The words "sustainability" and "fair trade" are often discussed in recent times, mainly in the area of food and agriculture. But what they mean to the perfumery? The Canadian company,...

  • NovaBateria01

    Technology

    May 1, 2017

    The batteries of the future are here

    With and age of 94 years old we would expect that John Goodenough would slow his rhythm, yet the inventor of the Lithium-ion batteries that have allowed us to increase the longevity of our cellular phone use and the development of...

  • julesrimet_gi_2720

    Sport

    May 25, 2018

    THE "HOLY GRAAL" OF FOOTBALL

    At 14 of June, in Russia, thirty-two national teams will be involved in the biggest football competition in the world, the FIFA World Cup 2018, with the objective of rising the most wanted trophy, the Jules Rimet Cup


  • lilium-jet-flying

    Mechanics & Locomotion

    Jun 1, 2017

    THE FUTURE'S LAUNCH

    Meet the Jetsons. They're back from the 1960's into the recent future. Suddenly, the imaginary world of William Hannah and Joseph Barbera became rather realistic. Does it seem too fantastic? That's probably because, it really is!

    ...

  • 0-1352400373-expo_spon_01

    Business & Industry

    Aug 1, 2017

    DEBATING THE FUTURE OF ENERGY

    It is one of the worlds' major events and it doesn't happen every year. That is one of the reasons why they are so important. But there's another one: the vast debates each one of these World Fairs (known as Expos) bring to light...

  • AdobeStock_70053652

    Food & Beverage

    Apr 1, 2017

    BREAKFAST - START THE DAY EATING

    Breakfast benefits to health have not been consensual throughout history, and even today it is discussed what kind of food should be eaten in the morning and whether or not these should be dependent on physical or intellectual activity....


  • Fertile Uzbekistan

    Food & Beverage

    Feb 29, 2016

    Fertile Uzbekistan

    Uzbekistan is a country full of sun and good lands. It remains a culture where vegetables, fruits and leafy greens are mandatory in their table – "dastarkhan", an eating space. In the cold harsh winters, these fruits and vegetables...

  • 01

    Technology

    Feb 1, 2017

    FROM NIGHT TO DAYLIGHT

    The recent introduction on the market of the Lumify X9 flashlight has generated lots of talk about if it should be accessible to every civilian. Built after military technology and products, this flashlight is so powerful, it can...

  • Lifestyle & Travel

    Oct 1, 2015

    A Lake of Splendour

    Lake Como, Lago di Como, Lago Lario, so many names, and just one place. And a beautiful one too. By the Alps, and almost in Switzerland lies this majestic and magnificent lake, which has been a stage for many loves, many cries, and the...