Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Happy Mardi Gras

Today is Mardi Gras. In New Orleans they call this "Mardi Gras DAY" to distinguish the actual day from the celebration leading up to today, which is properly called "Carnival" but which nearly everyone in New Orleans seems to call Mardi Gras.

Today's a party because at midnight tonight the dour season of Lent begins, so traditionally today was the last day to indulge in anything forbidden or frowned upon during Lent, especially meat. In fact the word "Carnival" comes from the Latin words meaning "farewell to meat."

Mardi Gras immediately conjures up images right out of "Girls Gone Wild" but there's a lot more going on than women flashing on Bourbon Street for cheap plastic trinkets. In most of the city it's a family-0riented day of parades, food, costumes, and drinking until the streets are cleared at the stroke of midnight.

And the crowds appear to be back, with the largest attendance since the Storm in 2005.

Mardi Gras Day is amazing and it's breaking my heart not to be in New Orleans today. Fortunately, Mardi Gras will return on Tuesday, February 16, 2010.

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