Mardi Gras, which means “Fat Tuesday” in French, is a season of merriment that begins on the Epiphany and ends the night before Lent, marked with outrageous parties, parades and masquerade balls. Observed all over the world, most notably in Rio de Janeiro, Venice, and of course, New Orleans, Mardi Gras allows revelers the opportunity to over-indulge before devoting themselves to fasting, abstinence and penitence during the Lenten season, which begins on Ash Wednesday.
In New Orleans, the tradition of wearing masks at Mardi Gras dates back to the 18th century, when a group of businessmen gathered to organize a secret society called the Mystic Krewe of Comus that would observe the event with a formal parade. In the early days of Mardi Gras, festival themes were designed to parody current issues or events, often ruffling the feathers of many community members. Wearing masks enabled parade organizers and participants to guard their identity.
Today, masks are an essential part of the carnival celebrations, and people will often spend hundreds — if not thousands — of dollars for one-of-a-kind elaborate masks. For revelers, wearing masks offers anonymity, giving them the liberty to release their inhibitions, express a secret personality or assume an alter-ego.
For Mardi Gras Mask ideas, check out our Pinterest Page. And as they say in N’awlins… Laissez les bons temps rouler (Let the good times roll).