Homespun and Country
Kitchen welcome you to
Mardi Gras music...
Laissez Le Bon Temps Roulet!
observer once said that people in Louisiana are
either having a party, recuperating from a party,
or planning a party..."
Probably From Louisiana If...
Video Cam from Bourbon Street!
to Radio Free New Orleans!
HISTORY OF MARDI GRAS
The foundation of Mardi Gras was
started long before the French. Some historians see a
relationship to the ancient fertility rituals performed
to welcome the coming of Spring, a time of rebirth. One
possible early version of the Mardi Gras festival was the
Lupercalia. This was a celebration around mid-February in
Rome. The early Church leaders diverted the pagan
practices toward a more Christian focus.
In Christian communities around the world, the 40 days
preceding Easter comprise Lent, the season of prayer and
fasting observed by the Roman Catholic Church and other
Christian denominations during the forty days and seven
Sundays before Easter Sunday. It begins with Ash
Wednesday, the day many Catholics go to church to receive
the sign of the cross marked in ash on their foreheads,
its purpose being to remind them of their own mortality.
For much of the country, the day before Lent is just
another Tuesday, but in New Orleans this particular
Tuesday represents the last gasp of revelry before a
period of austerity. In practical terms, it presented an
opportunity to use up all of the grease and fat in the
kitchen before Lent.
Easter can be on any Sunday from March 23 to April 25,
since the exact day is set to coincide with the first
Sunday after the full moon following the Spring Equinox.
Mardi Gras occurs on any Tuesday from February 3 through
March 9. The Gregorian calendar, setup by the Catholic
Church, determines the exact day for Mardi Gras.
The celebration started in New Orleans around the
seventeenth century, when Jean Baptiste LeMoyne, Sieur de
Bienville, and Pierre LeMoyne, Sieur de Iberville founded
the city. In 1699, the group set up camp 60 miles south
of the present location of New Orleans on the river's
They named the site Point du Mardi Gras in recognition of
the major French holiday happening on that day, March 3.
The late 1700's, saw pre-Lenten balls and fetes in the
infant New Orleans. The name Mardi Gras means Fat Tuesday
The masked balls continued until the Spanish government
took over and banned the events. The ban even continued
after New Orleans became an American city in 1803.
Eventually, the predominant Creole population revitalized
the balls by 1823. Within the next four years, street
masking was legalized.
The early Mardi Gras consisted of citizens wearing masks
on foot, in carriages, and on horseback. The first
documented parade in 1837 was made of a costumed
revelers. The Carnival season eventually became so wild
that the authorities banned street masking by the late
1830's. This was an attempt to control the civil disorder
arising from this annual celebration.
This ban didn't stop the hard core celebrators. By the
1840's, a strong desire to ban all public celebrations
was growing. Luckly, six young men from Mobile saved
Mardi Gras. These men had been members of the
Cowbellians, a group that performed New Years Eve parades
in Mobile since 1831.
The six men established the Mystick Krewe of Comus, which
put together the first New Orleans Carnival parade on the
evening of Mardi Gras in 1857. The parade consisted of
two mule-driven floats.
This promoted others to join in on this new addition to
Mardi Gras. Unfortunately, the Civil War caused the
celebration to loose some of its magic and public
observance. The magic returned along with several other
new krewes after the war.
Throw a King Cake Party!
Intro, Jambalaya, Dirty Rice, &
Vegetables, Side Dishes,
Soups & Sandwiches, and Breads
Poultry & Meats
Top 10 Dining in
back to Homespun-Country Kitchen.
This page was last updated February 19, 2006.