What is the story behind Mardi Gras

How the "Mardi Gras" in the US carnival stronghold New Orleans will be in 2021

From TRAVELBOOK | February 10, 2021, 4:35 p.m.

New Orleans is the carnival stronghold of the USA. Usually Mardi Gras is celebrated here every year, the fat Tuesday. But this year everything is different. What Mardi Gras 2021 looks like and what is actually behind the custom.

Usually, at Mardi Gras on Mardi Gras Sunday, several dozen floats roll through the district for the parade - gigantic and brightly decorated. Up to 50 members of the carnival society, the Krewe, ride upstairs and throw their presents towards the audience. Neighbors, families with children, several generations sit, stand and celebrate on the side of the road. Usually. But this year everything is different - the moves have all been canceled due to the corona pandemic. But New Orleans is still colorful on Mardi Gras.

After the Mayor of New Orleans officially canceled the Mardi Gras in November 2020, Mardi Grasist Megan Boudreaux announced on Twitter that she would simply decorate her house, as reported by "Thrillist". The idea went viral and now numerous houses in the city are brightly decorated. But what actually is Mardi Gras - and what distinguishes it from the German Carnival?

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At Mardi Gras, New Orelans is in a state of emergency

From Epiphany on it is Mardi Gras, the time of carnival. Mardi Gras - translated as fat Tuesday - is much more confusing than the German carnival celebrations. A move and a few balls in the city on the Mississippi River, which is known as the “cradle of jazz”, is far from over. The Krewes, the carnivalists, are out and about for days. Every society has its own route, some uptown, some downtown, some in the neighborhoods. The highlight is not Rose Monday, but fat Tuesday.

The first New Orleans Carnival procession started in 1857. On February 24th, the Mistick Krewe of Comus held the first parade with themed floats, followed by a carnival ball. It was probably the French who brought the festival with them from Europe.

But Mardi Gras is not as satirical and sometimes suggestive as the carnival in Germany. Each Krewe sets its own motto every year - it mostly comes from the world of legends or myths, history or celebrities. Nothing edible is thrown from the wagons, just a lot of plastic. Thick necklaces made of pearls in gold, green and purple are particularly popular. They stand for power, faith and justice, and have been since the first time Rex, the king of Mardi Gras, existed in 1872.

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No Mardi Gras in New Orleans "French Quarter"

Cars roll through one place in New Orleans not only this year, but not in any year: through the French Quarter, New Orleans' party mile. Removals have been banned there since the 1970s. The risk of harming someone or something is too great. There is usually no curfew in the French Quarter, except on Ash Wednesday.

When the excesses of the fat Tuesday are over, the police come and traditionally clear the streets at midnight. But that should also be canceled in 2021, like so many other things ...

with material from dpa

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