For many, the visualization of Mardi Gras is a huge parade, people in costumes, more beads than you could ever imagine and non-stop partying that originated in New Orleans, La. While this is partially true, there is another side to Mardi Gras that many may not know about, and one that a New Orleans native was willing to discuss.
Amy Cimo, a junior marketing and human resources double major, talked about her experience as a born-and-raised New Orleans resident, and about Mardi Gras.
“Mardi Gras actually originated in Mobile, Ala. and means ‘Fat Tuesday’ in French,” Cimo said. “Thats the day when people eat whatever they want before Lent starts. There’s usually two or three parades going on at once, but the festivities are an all day thing. A lot of people usually ask what they colors stand for, too. Purple represents justice, green represents faith and gold represents power.”
Mardi Gras originated in Mobile, which was the first capital of French Louisana when discovered by the French Le Moyne brothers in the 17th-century. In 1703, Mobile hosted the first official Mardi Gras celebrations in the United States. When the capital of Louisiana was relocated to New Orleans in 1723, Mardi Gras celebrations followed along.
The idea behind Mardi Gras was so people can have one last opportunity to indulge in what can now be described as “junk food” before Ash Wednesday and the Lenten season of fasting, hence the “Fat Tuesday” moniker.
Cimo also described what her family does for Mardi Gras, which she described as “a little unusual.”
“My parents got all the partying out of their systems when they were younger,” Cimo said. “My family usually leaves town and goes to Disney during that time, as well as a lot of other families from the area. They always see us in matching Mardi Gras shirts and think we belong to some organization or group.”
Although Cimo doesn’t always celebrate it to the extent many others do, she is still extremely proud to be a part of that tradition and have the world known event held in her city, “The Big Easy.”
“It’s an incredible experience.” Cimo said. “It’s just one of those things you just have to do in your lifetime.”
•The first Mardi Gras celebrations in the United States began in Mobile, Ala. in 1703, when Mobile was the capital of French Louisiana.
• Mardi Gras is French for “Fat Tuesday,” in which people would indulge in fatty foods one last time before hte Lenten season.
• Mardi Gras relocated to New Orleans, La. in 1723 and has been going strong ever since.
• Hundreds of thousands of tourists flock to New Orleans every year to celebrate the occasion.