For those of you who are not from Southern Louisiana (or an area that celebrates Mardi Gras) first off, you must experience Mardi Gras if you haven't already. It is quite the spectacule. Of course, New Orleans is wild, crazy and fun! But Lafayette, in my opinion, is best for families.
Mardi Gras is French for "Fat Tuesday". Although widely celebrated by non-Catholics, it is a Roman Catholic tradition. It occurs every year on the Tuesday before Ash Wednesday (which kicks off Lent, a time of fasting/abstinence for spiritual cleansing and respect for Jesus' suffering on the cross, lasting until Easter) Typically occuring sometime in February or March, the turn of the new year usually kicks off with various Mardi Gras balls. The balls are in mock-wedding fashion with the court 'walking down the aisle' as they are presented. A King and Queen reins over the court. Tuxedo and Ball Gowns are worn by both court and guest. In order to attend, you must be invited by the organization putting on the ball.
But no invitation is needed for parades! Parades consists of floats sponsored by Krewes (organizations that puts on parades and/or balls) and business and marching bands from schools in the state. A variety of items are thrown from the parades to awaiting patrons but the most prominent is beaded necklaces. One might think it's silly to stand at the baracaded streets for hours in hopes of catching cheap plastic beads. And it is! But that's the point! The world is filled with heartache, disappointment, stress, hardship and all that can go wrong. We have responsibilities that make us all too serious the majority of the time. Mardi Gras is our time to be silly. It's a day when you can where whatever you want to wear....you can dress down, you can dress up or you can dress ridiculous. It doesn't matter, everyone's goal for the day is eat,drink and be merry......and collecting as many cheap plastic beads as you can! It is so exciting to feel the beads slide through your fingers and in the palm of your hand. Even more exciting if you can get the attention of a person riding on a float to throw you something 'special'. There is also a fair at Cajunfield in Lafayette with carnival rides and Downtown area has stages with bands. It is really a good time, for people of all ages. For those of you that live here but arean't really into Mardi Gras, hey..at least you get a day off!