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The History of Mardi Gras
When did Mardi Gras originate?
Mardi Gras came to or was introduced to New Orleans by the French explorer Pierre Le Moyne, Sieur d'Iberville in 1699.
However, Mardi Gras was a major holiday in Paris which was celebrated since the Middle Ages. Iberville sailed into the Gulf of Mexico and on March 3 of 1699, he set up camp on the west bank of the Mississippi river about 60 miles south of New Orleans.
Mardi Gras was being celebrated in France at this time and to honor this important day, Sieur d'Iberville named the site Point du Mardi Gras.
Throughout the years, Orleanians have added to the celebration by establishing krewes (organizations) which host parades and balls.
Mardi Gras' traditional colors are Purple, Green & Gold. Mardi Gras' colors were choose in 1892 when the Krewe of Rex gave the colors their meaning in the theme "Symbolism of Colors" parade.
Purple represents justice
Green stands for faith
Gold stands for power
New Orleans Mardi Gras celebrations draw hundreds of thousands of
tourists to the city
in addition to the celebrating locals for the parties and parades. Most
tourists can be found within the French Quarter, especially Bourbon
Street. Mardi Gras came to New Orleans with the French settlers at the
start of the 18th century.
There are also elaborate masked, tableau balls held by most of the parading krewes and other organizations which limit their activities only to balls. Usually invitation-only affairs, many of the balls feature the presentation of the city's debutantes
Is Carnival the same as Mardi Gras?
Carnival, which originated from the Latin word "carnem levare" which means no meat. Christians performed baptisms on Easter Sunday. People would pray & fast before they were baptized, so this soon became the tradition we call Lent. Carnival is the season between Christmas and Lent which begins in New Orleans on the Twelfth Night and continues until the midnight of Fat Tuesday ( Mardi Gras Day ), the day before Ash Wednesday and the beginning of Lent.
The date for Ash Wednesday changes and depends on the date of Easter. The exciting weeks of Carnival are filled with elegant balls, fancy banquets and other Carnival related social activities. Both children and adults quickly began to love the exciting holiday Carnival.
"Mardi Gras" , French for Fat Tuesday is the day before Ash Wednesday. Mardi Gras is always 47 days before Easter Sunday and can fall between February 3 and March 9. Mardi Gras is generally used to refer to the whole Carnival season, especially during the final two weeks when most of the parades occur in New Orleans. Most New Orleanians refer to the entire Carnival season as "Mardi Gras" but traditionalist may make a big fuss over the actual technical term.
Pierre Le Moyne d'Iberville:
The French-Candian explorer Pierre Le Moyne, also known as Sieur d'Iberville was one of 13 children born in Canada to a wealthy fur trader family. Pierre Le Moyne d'Iberville, founder of the colony of Louisiana, was born Ville-Marie in Montreal, Quebec on July 20, 1661. He died at Havana, Cuba on 9 July 1706.
He was the third son of Charles le Moyne, sieur de Longueuil, and of Catherine Primot. He also had a brother of Jean Baptiste le Moyne, sieur de Bienville. Iberville became a sailor at an early age and served as a volunteer under the Chevalier de Troyes in Hudson Bay. In 1675 he entered the French navy as a sailor at an early age and served as a volunteer under the Chevalier de Troyes in Hudson Bay but after 10 years at sea returned to Canada.
In 1686 he began a brilliant career as soldier and sailor, and took part in many expeditions against the English. Fort Severn, located at the mouth of the Severn River on Hudson Bay was established as a trading post in 1689 by the Hudson's Bay Company. Iberville captured it in 1690. The post, rebuilt in 1759, has been in continuous operation to this day making the community one of the oldest European settlements in Ontario. In 1690 he also took part in the raid on Schenectady which was led by his oldest brother Jacques, Sieur de Ste-Hélène.
In 1692 he unsuccessfully attacked Fort Pemaquid, Maine, but in 1696 he destroyed that post and also captured St. John's, Newfoundland, temporarily ousting the British from that area.
In 1695, Iberville was called upon to attack the English stations along the Atlantic coast from Fort William Henry, on the disputed New England-Acadia boundary, to St John’s, the fortified English settlement in Newfoundland. After destroying Fort William Henry in the spring of 1696, Iberville sailed with his three vessels to Placentia (Plaisance), the French capital of Newfoundland. Both English and French fishermen exploited the Grand Banks fishery from their respective settlements on Newfoundland under the sanction of the treaty of 1687, but the purpose of the new French expedition of 1696 was nevertheless to expel the English from Newfoundland.
Iberville and his men left Placentia on November 1, 1696 and marched overland to Ferryland, 50 miles south of St John’s. Nine days later, Iberville joined with naval forces and both detachments began the march north to the English capital, which surrendered on November 30, 1696 following a brief siege. After setting fire to St. John's, Iberville’s Canadians almost totally destroyed the English fisheries along the eastern shore of Newfoundland. Small raiding parties terrorized the hamlets hidden away in remote bays and inlets, burning, looting, and taking prisoners.
Iberville sailed for France in 1697 and was chosen by the Minister of Marine to lead an expedition to rediscover the mouth of the Mississippi River and to colonize Louisiana, which the English coveted.
By the end of March 1697, only Bonavista and Carbonear Island remained in English hands. In four months of raids, Iberville was responsible for the destruction of 36 settlements. The Newfoundland campaign had been the cruelest and most destructive of Iberville’s career.
Iberville's fleet sailed from Brest on 24 October 1698. On January 25, 1699, Iberville reached Santa Rosa Island in front of Pensacola, founded by the Spanish; he sailed from there to Mobile Bay and explored Massacre Island, later Dauphine. He cast anchor between Cat Island and Ship Island; and on February 13, 1699, he went to the mainland, Biloxi, with his brother Jean-Baptiste Le Moyne de Bienville.
In 1699, Mardi Gras came to or was introduced to New Orleans by the French explorer. The early explorers celebrated Mardi Gras right off the banks of the Mississippi River. Iberville sailed into the Gulf of Mexico and on March 3 of 1699, he set up camp on the west bank of the Mississippi river about 60 miles south of New Orleans. However, Mardi Gras was a major holiday in Paris which was celebrated since the Middle Ages. Mardi Gras was being celebrated in France at this time and to honor this important day, Sieur d'Iberville named the site Point du Mardi Gras.
Fragment from the Journal of the First Voyage of Le Moyne d’Iberville to Louisiana
In 1706, Iberville captured the Caribbean island of Nevis from the British, taking the main stronghold of Fort Charles and disabling most of the cannon on the island. He then went to Havana to obtain reinforcements from the Spanish for an attack on the Province of Carolina, but he contracted yellow fever and died at Havana on July 9 1706.
Mardi Gras Foods:
Zatarains Crab & Shrimp Boil - Liquid Concentrate
Mardi Gras History
Mardi Gras is not a national holiday.
The 1st New Orleans Mardi Gras parade was held on Feb. 24, 1857.
If you get the Mardi Gras baby from the king cake, you have to purchase the next.