Per noi italiani il carnevale fa parte di una tradizione secolare, molte persone lo apprezzano, altre non lo festeggiano più una volta diventati adulti. A questa festa rimangono però delle vere e proprie roccaforti, città e paesi dove è ancora molto sentita ed attesa. Non solo in Italia, ma nel mondo.
Overall, it’s a holiday that belongs to everybody and that we all look forward to, not only in Italy but in many other cities worldwide.
I’m lucky to live in one of those cities where Mardi Gras is a cult: New Orleans. Mardi Gras, in this corner of the Mississippi Delta, is taken very seriously. It starts on 12th night( our epiphany ) and it ends with a bang on Mardi Gras day ( our Fat Tuesday ).
During Carnival season partying and parades are an ongoing deal in New Orleans. Some are float parades and some are walking parades where elaborately costumed people march through the streets of downtown New Orleans.
Regardless of its dimensions, schedules and parade themes which are kept secret until parade night, each Mardi Gras Krewe has a different history and different theme but one thing in common: they “throw” beads and gifts to parade goers. The term “throw” is very specific and it’s used only in Louisiana during Mardi Gras.
Throws are a variety of items that depict the emblem of the Krewe that’s giving them away. Some throws are extremely easy to catch, like the classic New Orleans Mardi Gras beads, some are harder to grab and are called ” signature throws ” and the crowd literally goes nuts for those.
Muses and Nyx are the most sought after krewes for their signature throws which are handmade shoes and handbags. Planning in advance for Mardi Gras, in order to collect as many throws as possible is key. There are different ways to catch a Krewe’s attention. I usually make my own custom signs and wear flashy wigs. So far it’s working wonders for me.
Mardi Gras in New Orleans is a celebration for everyone but not all areas are kid friendly. For instance, there are no kids in the French Quarter, while the Upper Garden District area is perfect for families. It’s hard to express the joyful atmosphere, the colors and the happiness that goes on during this holiday on this side of the pond. I think it’s safe to say you either love it or hate it and, considering the number of tourists that the city of New Orleans draws every year, I would say that most people absolutely love it!
Carnival season is all about eating King Cake ( that’s what the Galette des Rois is called in Louisiana ) tons of beads and all that glitters.
We discuss how to prepare for it with friends, what to wear for a parade or a party, we study the most strategic places to have a better chance of catching as many signature throws as possible and we keep our fingers crossed hoping the weather will be in our favor on Mardi Gras day. Schools provide marching bands to perform during parades. Months before Mardi Gras we can hear and see kids lining the streets of New Orleans while rehearsing for the big event. The music coming from them practicing makes working so much easier.
Last but not least, Mardi Gras is the day we drink the most out of the year. It’s a madhouse of crowd, glow, alcohol like there’s no tomorrow and lots of laughs.
If you happen to visit New Orleans during Carnival time, I highly recommend you try to attend at least one parade. I promise you won’t regret it.
Alessia arrived in New Orleans 7 years ago, after living in California and Denmark.
Ambassadress of pesto and focaccia, she never misses the opportunity to talk about her beloved Liguria she left almost a decade ago. She’s a painting conservator and a full time wild expat. In her spare time she writes about her life in Louisiana and her bizarre adventures in the Big Easy on Amiche di Fuso.
Traduzione a cura di Caterina Podda
Traslated by Caterina Podda