Usually Wikipedia is a great source, but all I could find was mostly on New Orleans Mardi Gras. Southern tradition here has it that Mardi Gras started in Mobile. Well, whatever. I think it has something to do with Catholicism, maybe there are Catholics out there that could enlighten me?
I found these old photos on Wikipedia. The fully clothed ladies with the whips are a far cry from the breast exposing babes of today's Mardi Gras. The whips were used to fend off unwelcome advances. (Must have been pretty wild even back then.)
We love to get our King Cake in Mardi Gras season. These are brightly colored almost sweet-rollish circles with a plastic baby baked into them. The person that gets the baby in their piece of King Cake is supposedly going to have good luck for the rest of the year.
It was interesting to note that the encyclopedia said the City of New Orleans is bankrupt and could not put lots of money into the parades and celebrations, so this is the first year that corporate sponsors were sought after.
Wikipedia also stated that Mardi Gras was introduced to New Orleans by the French. If that is so, then my next question to my Canadian friends is - are you guys celebrating with parades, etc.? Has the southern U.S. tradition of Mardi Gras been altered and assimilated into other customs? Anyone know?
Ah, sad New Orleans! I have to make a trip before too long - before the heat rises along with the humidity - and see her. One of my friends gathered some ladies together and they traveled over there, but it was a sobering event rather than the fun they expected. Well, we are STILL digging out of Ivan over here, still putting things back together - it will take the grand ol' dame of New Orleans years and years I fear.