The whole Mardi Gras festival?


What is it all about? Where and how did it originate? What is the significence of the beads?

My son and friend were telling me something about women showing thier breasts and getting beads for doing it? Is that just teenage boy talk?

The celebration of Mardi Gras came to North America from France where it had been celebrated since the Middle Ages. The early Church fathers, realizing that it was impossible to divorce their new converts from their pagan customs, decided instead to direct them into Christian channels. Thus Carnival was created as a period of merriment that would serve as a prelude to the penitential season of Lent.

In the late 1700s pre-Lenten balls and fetes were held in New Orleans.
In 1837, a costumed group of revelers walked in the first documented “parade,” but the violent behavior of maskers during the next two decades caused the press to call for an end to Mardi Gras. Fortunately, six New Orleanians who were former members of the Cowbellians, (a group that had presented New Year’s Eve parades in Mobile since 1831), saved the New Orleans Mardi Gras by forming the Comus organization in 1857. The men beautified the celebration and proved that it could be enjoyed in a safe and festive manner. Comus coined the word “krewe” and established several Mardi Gras traditions by forming a secret Carnival society, choosing a mythological namesake, presenting a themed parade with floats and costumed maskers, and staging a tableau ball following its parade.

The full history of Mardi Gras (especially the New Orleans parades) can be found here:

Your son is absolutely correct in saying that some of the young girls will flash their boobs for beads. It got really bad and about 5 years ago the police starting arresting and ticketing those that did it charging them with indecent exposure. In New Orleans especially the younger girls (college tourist) will still do it though for the larger beads.

Baton Rouge parades are completely family friendly and no flashing as normally all the people that attend our parades are locals.
Wynetter is certainly the expert! Just to add, Mardi Gras is french for Fat Tuesday - the day before Ash Wednesday, the last day to eat and drink before the lenten season begins. Although the whole parade season is referred to as Mardi Gras, the season always ends the day before Ash Wednesday. In other countries, the pre Lenten celebration is called Carnivale, which is Latin for "farewell to meat", another reference to abstaining during the Lenten season. Mardi Gras in New Orleans is fantastic - you can avoid the silly flashing girls and the worst of the drunks by watching the parades on Charles Street where the crowd is much more family oriented.

And unfortunately, the "beads for boobs" thing takes place all year round on Bourbon Street now with tourist girls. Silly girls - you can buy the beads for a few dollars and keep your self respect. But that shouldn't scare anyone away from New Orleans, it's a great city to visit Very Happy never cease to amaze me!!!!

We still (of course) have the wonderful beads you sent to us, and I plan on wearing them...and making Tony wear some Twisted Evil today.

And...if he insists...I will flash my boobs for him Cool


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