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:

    When is Mardi Gras?

    A:

    Mardi Gras falls on the Tuesday immediately before Ash Wednesday, which is the official beginning of Lent. Mardi Gras is seen as a hedonistic celebration that will prepare revelers for the period of fasting and religious self control that follows during Lent.

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  • Q:

    Do U.S. cities other than New Orleans have Mardi Gras celebrations?

    A:

    While the New Orleans Mardi Gras celebration may be the most famous in the country, there are many other cities in the United States that celebrate Mardi Gras, including Biloxi, Mississippi; Mobile, Alabama; and Pensacola, Florida. These Mardi Gras celebrations are among the oldest in the country, some of which may even predate the Mardi Gras celebration in New Orleans.

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  • Q:

    What item was originally hidden in a king cake?

    A:

    While modern versions typically include a tiny plastic figurine of a baby, historical versions of the Mardi Gras king cake may have included coins, beans, peas or nuts. Whether a bean, such as a fava bean, or a plastic or porcelain figurine is used, the trinket is intended to represent the baby Jesus in commemoration of the holiday of Epiphany, which marks the day when the baby Jesus was presented to the Three Kings.

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  • Q:

    What is Lundi Gras?

    A:

    Lundi Gras is part of New Orleans' Mardi Gras celebrations; in French, "Lundi" means "Monday," making this the Fat Monday predecessor of Fat Tuesday. The event can be seen as a kick-off to Mardi Gras celebrations, with a number of parades and events to help build anticipation for the big day.

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