December 1, 2015

2090 UNITED STATES (Louisiana) - Mardi Gras Day in New Orleans

Mardi Gras, also called Shrove Tuesday or Fat Tuesday in English, refers to events of the Carnival celebrations, beginning on or after the Christian feasts of the Epiphany (Three King's Day) and culminating on the day before Ash Wednesday. It arrived in North America as a French Catholic tradition in the late 17th century, but the date of the first celebration in New Orleans is unknown. A 1730 account by Marc-Antione Caillot notes celebrating with music and dance, masking and costuming.

In 1875 Louisiana declared Mardi Gras a legal state holiday. 1972 was the last year in which large parades went through the narrow streets of the city's French Quarter section; larger floats, crowds, and fire safety concerns led the city government to prohibit parades in the Quarter. Major parades now skirt the French Quarter along Canal Street. Today, New Orleans krewes operate under a business structure; membership is open to anyone who pays dues, and any member can have a place on a parade float.

Celebrations are concentrated for about two weeks before and through Mardi Gras. Usually there is one major parade each day (weather permitting); many days have several large parades. The largest and most elaborate parades take place the last five days of the season. In the final week of Carnival, many events large and small occur throughout New Orleans and surrounding communities. The traditional colors of the New Orleans Mardi Gras are purple, green, and gold.

The celebrations begin early on Mardi Gras, which can fall on any Tuesday between February 3 and March 9 (depending on the date of Easter). In New Orleans, uptown, the Zulu parade rolls first, followed by the Rex parade, which both end on Canal Street. A number of smaller parading organizations with "truck floats" follow the Rex parade. Inexpensive strings of beads and toys have been thrown from floats to parade-goers since at least the late 19th century.

The formal end of New Orleans Mardi Gras arrives with the "Meeting of the Courts," a ceremony at which Rex and His Royal Consort, the King and Queen of Carnival, meet with Comus and his Queen, at the ball of the  Mistick Krewe of Comus, New Orleans' oldest active Carnival organization. At the midnight a mounted squad of New Orleans police officers make a show of clearing upper Bourbon Street where the bulk of out-of-town revelers congregate, announcing that Carnival is over.

About the stamps
The first two "stamps" are actually part of the top of the sheet issued under the name Classic American Aircraft,about which I wrote here. The third stamp is part of the series Carnivorous Plants,about which I wrote here. About the last stamp, depicting the iconic figure of "Wisdom" which is installed over the entrance to the GE Building at Rockefeller Center, I wrote here.

New Orleans Mardi Gras - Wikipedia 

Sender: Denise 
Sent from Greenvale (New York / United States), on 07.03.2015
Photo: Elisabeth Troendle & Grant L. Robertson

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