Q:

Why do people wear masks during Mardi Gras?

A:

Quick Answer

People wear masks during Mardi Gras to add excitement to their festivities. According to the International Business Times, Mardi Gras is an opportunity for people to abandon social constraint by donning a mask to celebrate Fat Tuesday.

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Why do people wear masks during Mardi Gras?
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Full Answer

In the original Mardi Gras celebrations hundreds of years ago, masks allowed people to be someone else for a few days. Social classes were broken down, and the population mingled without fear of repercussions. Additionally, people could engage in all types of decadent behavior in an anonymous fashion.

Today, masks are still central to Mardi Gras celebrations. The ability to escape the daily grind of life by joining with other masked participants creates the mystique of the revelry.

In southern Louisiana, smaller parishes have specific styles of mask unique to their population. In the French Quarter of New Orleans, shopping for a mask provides a variety of options from simple to elaborately designed. While wearing a mask is legal on Fat Tuesday, store owners frequently ask patrons to remove their masks before stepping into the store.

Celebrating a 300-year history in New Orleans, Mardi Gras calls on French ancestry and traditions of masked balls and public entertaining on a grand scale. Blended with the African cultural traditions of dancing and ritual art, the New Orlean's Mardi Gras celebration boasts a masked party unrivaled in the United States.

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Related Questions

  • Q:

    How much does it cost to be in a Mardi Gras krewe?

    A:

    Mardi Gras krewe membership costs vary by krewe and can range from less than $50 to thousands of dollars. The price of membership typically depends on the scope and popularity of the events the krewe puts on. For example, membership in the Zulu krewe, which holds a legendary parade on Mardi Gras Tuesday, can cost as much as $1,500, and other krewes may be even more exclusive both in terms of price and in terms of the gender, race and residency of their members.

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  • Q:

    What was the first Mardi Gras krewe?

    A:

    In 1857, the Mistick Krewe of Comus became the first official Mardi Gras organization in New Orleans, setting the stage for generations of krewes to come and, according to the New Orleans Times-Picayune, even preventing Mardi Gras from becoming a mere violent street party. Though the original krewe no longer parades, the Comus organization is still active, producing a royal court each year.

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  • Q:

    What does "Mardi Gras" mean?

    A:

    In French, the word "Mardi" means "Tuesday," and the word "gras" means "fat," meaning that Mardi Gras translates to English as "Fat Tuesday." The name comes from the practice of preparing for the start of a period of fasting on Ash Wednesday, which immediately follows Mardi Gras. This preparation may involve eating rich foods and using up ingredients like fat, eggs and dairy, which may not be allowed during Lent.

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  • Q:

    Is Mardi Gras an official holiday?

    A:

    Mardi Gras is an official public holiday in certain places in the United States and across the globe. It is an official state holiday in Louisiana, and Brazil also has made the Carnival celebration an official public holiday.

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