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MARDI GRAS

MARDI GRAS IS THE FEAST THAT STARTS OFF LENT.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; DETROIT

Keyword(s): RELIGIOUS CUSTOM

Subject headings: 663 Mardi Gras
CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- Spring Planting After all

Date learned: 11-17-1969

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UNMASKING

NO ONE IS ALLOWED TO WEAR A MASK AFTER SIX O'CLOCK P.M. ON THE
TUESDAY BEFORE ASH WEDNESDAY, MARDI GRAS DAY.

Data entry tech comment: KEYPUNCHER HAD THE OPPORTUNITY TO ATTEND THE 1976 MARDI GRAS
CELEBRATION IN NEW ORLEANS AND CAN REPORT THAT THIS CUSTOM IS
NOW DISREGARDED BY A GREAT MANY CARNIVAL PARTICIPANTS.
INSTEAD OF SIX OCLOCK P.M. BEING THE THE TIME OF UNMASKING,
TWELVE MIDNIGHT, THE ACTUAL BEGINNING OF ASH WEDNESDAY AND THE
LENTEN SEASON SEEMS NOW TO BE THE UNMASKING HOUR, AS WELL AS
THE FORMAL ENDING OF ALL CELEBRATIONS.

Where learned: LOUISIANA ; New Orleans

Subject headings: CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- Spring Planting After all

Date learned: 02-00-1971

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KING CAKE -- A PART OF MARDI GRAS

THE FIRST BALL OF MARDI GRAS IS ON THE TWELFTH NIGHT. TRADITIONALLY
THE QUEEN AND HER ATTENDANTS WERE DETERMINED BY THE KING CAKE.
THIS IS A SWEET CAKE MADE IN A RING WITH DIFFERENT COLOR SUGARS
ON THE TOP. INSIDE ARE A CERTAIN NUMBER OF SILVER BEANS AND ONE
GOLD BEAN. THE GIRL WHO GOT THE GOLD BEAN WAS THE QUEEN OF THE
BALL, AND THOSE WHO GOT THE SILVER BEANS WERE ATTENDANTS.
NOW IT IS PLANNED WHO WILL GET WHICH BEANS, BUT THE CAKE
IS STILL A PART OF THE MARDI GRAS FESTIVAL.

Where learned: LOUISIANA ; New Orleans

Subject headings: 663 Mardi Gras
CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- Spring Planting After all

Date learned: 02-00-1971

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KREWE OF TUCK -- A PART OF MARDI GRAS

THIS IS A GROUP OF LOYOLA UNIVERSITY STUDENTS WHO HAVE A GREAT MOCK
PARADE -- A PARODY OF THE REGULAR CARNIVAL KREWES.
THE DESTINATION OF THIS KREWE IS THE "FRIAR TUCK'S" BAR NEAR
THE UNIVERSITY WHERE THE "BALL" IS HELD.

Where learned: LOUISIANA ; New Orleans

Subject headings: 663 Mardi Gras
CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- Spring Planting After all

Date learned: 02-00-1971

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ZULU PARADE -- A PART OF MARDI GRAS

THE ZULU KREWE (PRONOUNCED "CREW") IS THE ONLY NEGRO KREWE. IT WAS
ORGANIZED IN 1929 BUT WAS NOT RECOGNIZED UNTIL THE LAST FEW YEARS.
RATHER THAN A SET ROUTE, THEY PARADE FROM BAR TO BAR. THEY THROW
COCONUTS PAINTED WITH FACES, OR RATHER THEY USED TO.
NOW, IN ORDER TO GET ONE OF THESE MOST PRIZED FAVORS ONE
USUALLY HAS TO PAY A SUM OF FIVE DOLLARS OR SO TO ONE OF THE KREWE
MEMBERS TO BE GIVEN ONE.

Where learned: LOUISIANA ; New Orleans

Subject headings: 663 Mardi Gras
CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- Spring Planting After all

Date learned: 02-00-1971

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THE QUEEN'S SUPPER -- A PART OF MARDI GRAS

AROUND ELEVEN O'CLOCK P.M., AFTER THE BALL, THE KREWE HAS A SUPPER
FOR THE QUEEN. THE QUEEN'S FAMILY GENERALLY INVITES MANY GUESTS
BECAUSE OF THE HONOR BESTOWED UPON THE FAMILY. THERE IS A BALL AND
STREAMERS AND HATS AND FIREWORKS. AFTER SEVERAL HOURS OF DRINKING
CHAMPAGNE OR SCOTCH OR WHISKEY, A BREAKFAST IS USUALLY SERVED.

Where learned: LOUISIANA ; New Orleans

Subject headings: 663 Mardi Gras
CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- Spring Planting After all

Date learned: 02-00-1971

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NEW ORLEANS MARDI GRAS

REGARDLESS OF WHEN ONE TRAVELS TO THE CITY OF NEW ORLEANS, THE
VISITOR IS SURE TO BE GREETED BY BEAUTIFUL AND HISTORIC SCENERY,
SUPERB CUISINE, AND A WILDLY PULSATING NIGHT LIFE. THOSE FORTUNATE
ENOUGH TO VISIT THIS CITY DURING THE ANNUAL PRE-LENTEN MARDI GRAS
FESTIVAL, HOWEVER, WILL SEE THIS ALREADY UNIQUE CITY TRANSFORMED INTO
A FUN-FILLED PARADISE THAT LITERALLY DEFIES JUSTIFIABLE DESCRIPTION.
MARDI GRAS, WHICH TRANSLATES FROM THE FRENCH TO MEAN "FAT TUESDAY"
IN ENGLISH, IS THE TRADITIONAL CELEBRATION MARKING THE END OF A
CARNIVAL SEASON THAT BEGINS ON THE TWELFTH DAY OF CHRISTMAS.
HISTORICALLY, IT IS A CELEBRATION THAT HAS BEEN PRACTICED FOR YEARS.
GEOGRAPHICALLY, IT IS A CUSTOM THAT OCCURS ON A WORLD WIDE SCALE.
AFTER VISITING NEW ORLEANS, HOWEVER, ONE WILL SWEAR THAT THIS
CELEBRATION IS THE SOLE PROPERTY AND INVENTION OF THIS SOUTHERN
LOUISIANA CITY, FOR NEVER WILL ONE SEE AN ENTIRE URBAN DEVELOPMENT
OF THIS SIZE SO GEARED TOWARD ONE GOAL -- SEEING THAT MILLIONS HAVE
THE MOST ENJOYABLE TIME OF THEIR LIVES. HAVING BEEN LUCKY ENOUGH
TO ATTEND THE MARDI GRAS CELEBRATION IN NEW ORLEANS, I BELIEVE THAT
MILLIONS DO INDEED HAVE THE TIME OF THEIR LIVES, AND ALMOST ALL
HOPE FOR THE OPPORTUNITY TO RETURN AGAIN. HERE, THEN, ARE JUST A
FEW OF THE FACTORS WHICH CONTRIBUTE TO THIS WILDLY FESTIVE CARNIVAL,
ALL OF WHICH (WITH THE EXCEPTION OF THE BALL SCHEDULE AND A FEW
TECHNICAL TERMS WHICH WERE PROVIDED BY TEXT BOOKS) I PERSONALLY
WITNESSED WHILE I WAS THERE.
MARDI GRAS DAY ITSELF OCCURS ON SHROVE TUESDAY, THE DAY BEFORE ASH
WEDNESDAY AND THE BEGINNING OF LENT TRADITIONALLY, THIS DAY MARKS
THE CULMINATION OF NEARLY TWO MONTHS OF MERRY-MAKING AND UNINHIBITED
INDULGENCE. IN NEW ORLEANS, THIS PERIOD THAT LEADS UP TO MARDI GRAS
IS MARKED BY A SERIES OF FORMAL MASQUERADE BALLS THAT ARE SPONSORED
BY BOTH SECRET AND WELL KNOWN SOCIAL ORGANIZATIONS. MILLIONS OF
DOLLARS GO INTO THE FUNDING OF THESE ELABORATE PRODUCTIONS, AND
SECURING AN INVITATION TO THE MORE ELITE BALLS IS NEARLY AN LM IMPOSSIBILITY.. THOSE ATTENDING THESE BALLS, THEREFORE, ARE
USUALLY MEMBERS OF THE SO CALLED "UPPER CLASS" OF NEW ORLEANS
SOCIETY. FOR A YOUNG LADY TO BE CHOSEN QUEEN OF SUCH A BALL IS
A MOST HONORED AND FLATTERING PRIVILEGE FOR BOTH HER AND HER FAMILY.
A CALANDER OF CARNIVAL BALLS FOR A TYPICAL YEAR IS PROVIDED BELOW,
WHICH SHOWS NOT ONLY THE EXTENSIVENESS AND TIGHT SCHEDULING OF THESE
PARTIES, BUT ALSO, PROVIDES AN ACCURATE LIST OF THOSE GODS WHO ARE
TRADITIONALLY HONORED DURING THIS CARNIVAL SEASON.

DECEMBER
31, MONDAY. BALL OF HARLEQUINS
JANUARY
5, SATURDAY. BALL OF TWELFTH NIGHT
6, SUNDAY. BALL OF OKEANOS
10, THURSDAY. BALL OF JUPITER
11, FRIDAY. BALL OF NAIADS
13, SUNDAY. BALL OF HERA
16, WEDNESDAY. BALL OF ACHAENS
16, WEDNESDAY. BALL OF DIANA
17, THURSDAY. BALL OF THERON
18, FRIDAY. BALL OF IRIS
19, SATURDAY. BALL OF OLYMPIANS
22, TUESDAY. BALL OF ORION
23, WEDNESDAY. BALL OF PANDORA
24, THURSDAY. BALL OF NEOBIANS
24, THURSDAY. BALL OF CUPID
25, FRIDAY. BALL OF CALIPHS OF CAIRO
26, SATURDAY. BALL OF BARDS OF BOHEMIA
28, MONDAY. BALL OF VIRGILIANS
30, WEDNESDAY. BALL OF HYPATIAYNS
31, THURSDAY. BALL OF NEREUS
31, THURSDAY. BALL OF MOKANA
FEBRUARY
1, FRIDAY. BALL OF EROS
1, FRIDAY. BALL OF MAIDS OF TROY
2, SATURDAY. BALL OF OSIRIS
3, SUNDAY. BALL OF ALLA
4, MONDAY. BALL OF ELENIANS
5, TUESDAY. BAL MASQUE
6, WEDNESDAY. BALL OF ALHAMBRA
7, THURSDAY. BALL OF DORIANS
8, FRIDAY. BALL OF APAROMEST
9, SATURDAY. BALL OF ATHENIANS
11, MONDAY. BALL OF PROMETHEUS
12, TUESDAY. BALL OF SPARTA
13, WEDNESDAY. BALL OF ORPHEUS
148 THURSDAY. BALL OF MITHRAS
15, FRIDAY. BALL OF LES MARIONETTES
16, SATURDAY. BALL OF PERSIA
16, SATURDAY. BALL OF OMARDZ
17, SUNDAY. BALL OF CARROLLTON
18, MONDAY. BALL OF OBERON
19, TUESDAY. BALL OF ATLANTEANS
19, TUESDAY. BALL OF THE KNIGHTS OF MARS
20, WEDNESDAY. BALL OF MYSTERY
238 WEDNESDAY. BALL OF BABYLON, PRECEDED BY PARADE
21 THURSDAY. BALL OF MOMUS, PRECEDED BY PARADE
21, THURSDAY. BALL OF ALPHEUS
22, FRIDAY. BALL OF HERMES, PRECEDED BY PARADE
23, SATURDAY. BALL OF MYSTIC CLUB
23, SATURDAY, BALL OF MOSLEMS
24, SUNDAY. BALL OF MID-CITY, PRECEDED BY AFTERNOON PARADE
248 SUNDAY. BALL OF VENUS, PRECEDED BY AFTERNOON PARADE
25, MONDAY. BALL OF PROTEUS, PRECEDED BY PARADE
26, TUESDAY. MARDI GRAS -- STREET MASKINGS; PARADES OF ZULU
KING, REX, KREWE OF ORLEANIANS; MANY NEIGHBORHOOD PARADES,
INCLUDING CARROLLTON; NIGHT PARADE OF MYSTIC KREWE OF COMUS;
BALLS OF REX, COMUS, AND ZULU.

BUT WHILE MASQUERADE BALLS ARE A VERY IMPORTANT PART OF THE MARDI
GRAS CELEBRATION, THEY CAN IN NO WAY COMPARE TO THE PARADES WHEN IT
COMES TO PURE MASS APPEAL. FOR MANY, IN FACT, THE PARADES ARE THE
HIGHLIGHT OF THE ENTIRE CARNIVAL SEASON. THE SCHEDULED PARADE
PROGRAM BEGINS OFFICIALLY ON THE THURSDAY NIGHT PRECEDING MARDI
GRAS, AND CONTINUES AT A RATE OF SOME FIVE PARADES PER DAY RIGHT
ON THROUGH TO MARDI GRAS NIGHT, WHEN THE PARADE COURTS OF COMUS AND
REX MEET AT ELEVEN OCLOCK P.M. IN WHAT IS PERHAPS THE PEAK OF THE
ENTIRE MARDI GRAS CARNIVAL. AND WHILE IT IS THE UNION OF THESE TWO
PARADES THAT EVENTUALLY BECOMES THE CENTER OF ATTENTION, ANY MAJOR
MARDI GRAS PARADE IS TRULY A SENSUAL TREAT FOR ALL WHO EXPERIENCE
IT. THE SIGHT OF A MARDI GRAS PARADE IS SIMPLY AWESOME. HUNDREDS
OF THOUSANDS, PERHAPS MILLIONS OF PEOPLE LINE THE WIDE BOULEVARDS
OF CANAL, ST. CHARLES, AND RAMPART STREETS WAITING FOR A CHANCE TO
SEE THE KING OF COMUS, OR REX, OR THE ZULU KING, THE LATTER, AS HE
MAKES HIS WAY FROM HIS BARGE ON THE MISSISSIPPI TO THE DESTINATION
POINT OF ALL MAJOR PARADES, THE MUNICIPLE AUDITORIUM. THE CROWD
THAT LINES THESE WELL TRAVELED PARADE ROUTES IS THE MOST COLORFUL
ONE TO BE SEEN ANYWHERE, AND THE ENERGY THAT IS GENERATED THROUGH
THEIR ANTICIPATION ALONE IS FANTASTICALLY EXCITING. MANY VIEWERS
WEAR COSTUMES THAT RIVAL THOSE OF THE PARADERS THEMSELVES. OTHERS
DANCE (WHERE THEY CAN FIND ROOM) TO THE RHYTHM OF A FAR OFF PARADE
BAND. STILL OTHERS WAIT IN EAGER ANTICIPATION (SOME WITH BUSHEL
BASKETS OR LONG HANDLED NETS IN HAND) FOR A CHANCE TO CATCH
ONE OF THE MANY TOKEN FAVORS THAT ARE TOSSED FROM THE PARADE FLOATS.
IF ONE IS LUCKY, HE WILL OUTDUEL SCORES OF OTHER HUNGRY SOUVINEER
SEEKERS AND EMERGE VICTORIOUS FROM A MAD SCRAMBLE FOR A CHEAP
TRINKET (A STRING OF PLASTIC BEADS OR AN IMITATION DOUBLOON) THAT
IS WORTH PERHAPS A FRACTION OF A CENT , AND YET, IS INVALUABLE AS
A MARDI GRAS SOUVINEER. AND THEN OF COURSE, THERE ARE THOSE WHO ,
WHETHER STRENGTHENED OR WEAKENED BY EXCESSIVE AMOUNTS OF THE
ALCOHOL THAT FLOWS SO FREELY, COULD CARE LESS ABOUT PARADES.
OCCASIONALLY, BEFORE THE ACTUAL ARRIVAL OF A LONG AWAITED PARADE,
A YOUNG MAN, A MILK CARTON FULL OF BEER IN HIS HAND, WILL FIND HIS
WAY OVER ONE OF THE RETAINING BARRIERS THAT LINE THE PARADE ROUTE.
IN THE MIDDLE OF CANAL STREET WITH THOUSANDS WATCHING HIS EVERY
ACTION, THE YOUTH RAISES HIS MILK CARTON IN A TOAST TO THE CROWD
AND TO MARDI GRAS. THE ONLOOKERS ROAR THEIR THUNDEROUS APPROVAL,
AND SECONDS LATER, ONE OF NEW ORLEANS FINEST, A THREE FOOT NIGHT
STICK IN HIS HAND, IS ESCORTING THE YOUNG MAN BACK INTO OBLIVION.
MINUTES LATER, HOWEVER, SOMEONE ELSE WILL STUMBLE UPON THE SAME
STAGE, AND THE ACT, WITH SOME CREATIVE VARIATION, WILL BE REPEATED.
WHEN THE PARADE FINALLY DOES ARRIVE, NO ONE IS EVER DISAPPOINTED.
THE ROARING CONVOYS OF POLICE MOTORCYCLES, FOLLOWED BY ROWS OF
STATELY MOUNTED POLICE ARE BOTH IMPRESSIVE AND FUNCTIONAL, AS THEY
CLEAR THE WAY FOR THE PARADE THAT FOLLOWS. EACH PARADE WILL CONSIST
OF AT LEAST TWENTY OR THIRTY FLOATS, INTERSPERSED BY MARCHING
PARADE BANDS OR TRUCKLOADS FULL OF JAZZY DIXIELAND MUSICIANS.
THE MASKERS ON THE FLOATS ARE A MOTLEY BUNCH, COSTUMED SO AS TO
DISPLAY THE THEME OF THE PARADE, AND ARE CONTINUALLY ACTIVE AS THEY
THROW BOTH KISSES AND TRINKETS TO THE WAVING AND SCREAMING CROWDS
BELOW THEM. AS THE LAST FLOAT PASSES BY, THE CROWD QUICKLY BREAKS
UP; WITH SOME PEOPLE FOLLOWING THE PARADE ON ITS WAY TO THE
AUDITORIUM; SOME GOING IN SEARCH OF ANOTHER PARADE, WHICH THEY
WILL INEVITABLY FIND; AND SOME HEADING DOWN FOR THE CHAOTIC
EXCITMENT OF THE FRENCH QUARTER.
FOR THOSE WHO ARE NOT INTERESTED IN PARADES, OR FOR THOSE WHO HAVE
ALREADY SEEN THEIR SHARE OF THEM FOR ONE DAY, NOTHING CAN BEAT THE
ROUND THE CLOCK EXCITMENT OF THE FRENCH QUARTER FOR PURE, NON-STOP
MARDI GRAS ENTERTAINMENT. IT IS IN THIS MOST FAMOUS SECTION OF NEW
ORLEANS THAT THE REAL GRASS ROOTS CELEBRATION OF MARDI GRAS SEEMS
TO TAKE PLACE. HERE, IN THIS HISTORIC DISTRICT THAT IS ALSO KNOWN
AS THE VIEUX CARRE (VEE-YUH CAR-RAY) OR "OLD SQUARE", JAZZ MUSIC,
CREOLE FOOD, AND WILD DANCING IN THE STREETS CONTINUE TWENTY FOUR
HOURS A DAY FROM THURSDAY NIGHT THROUGH MIDNIGHT ON MARDI GRAS.
ONE COULD EASILY ENJOY THESE SIX MOST ACTIVE DAYS OF THE MARDI
GRAS CELEBRATION WITHOUT EVER STEPPING BEYOND THE NINETY SQUARE
BLOCKS THAT MAKE UP THE FRENCH QUARTER. MANY PARTYERS, NO DOUBT,
DO EXACTLY THAT.
THE FRENCH QUARTER OFFERS AN ABUNDANCE OF ENTERTAINMENT FOR
EVERYONE, AND FEW PEOPLE, IT SEEMS, WILL EVER WANT TO SPEND LESS
THAN SEVERAL DAYS THERE. ACTIVITY IN THE FRENCH QUARTER IS A
TWENTY FOUR HOUR A DAY AFFAIR. DURING THE DAYLIGHT HOURS, ONE MAY
WANT TO JOIN THE CROWDS WHO STROLL UP AND DOWN THE HISTORIC STREETS,
PEEKING INTO QUAINT ANTIQUE SHOPS AND BEAUTIFULLY LANDSCAPED
COURTYARD GARDENS. OR ONE MAY SPEND THE BETTER PART OF A DAY
MERELY SAMPLING THE WIDE VARIETY OF CREOLE FOODS THAT ARE SOLD THERE.
RED BEANS AND RICE, MISSISSIPPI BAYOU CATFISH, SOFT SHELL CRABS,
OYSTERS ON THE HALF SHELL, GUMBO, JAMBALAYA A LA CREOLE, OR FRESH
CRAWFISH ARE JUST A FEW TASTY POSSIBILITIES. FURTHER, ONE WILL
SURELY WANT TO WALK DOWN TO THE JACKSON SQUARE AREA TO VISIT
HISTORIC SAINT LOUIS CATHEDRAL, THE FAMOUS CABILDO, PIRATES ALLEY,
AND DOZENS OF ADDITIONAL LANDMARKS THAT SIMPLY MUST BE SEEN.
AS THE LATE AFTERNOON APPROACHES, HOWEVER, BE SURE TO GET ONE FINAL
LOOK AT THE "DAYLIGHT" FRENCH QUARTER, FOR ONCE DUSK FALLS, THE
QUARTER DOES A COMPLETE FLIPFLOP. THIS DISTRICT THAT WAS SO QUAINT
BY DAY BECOMES EXCITINGLY NAUGHTY AND WILD BY NIGHT. THE BEAUTIFUL
SECOND AND THIRD STORY WROUGHT IRON BALCONIES THAT LINE THE STREETS,
FOR THE MOST PART VACANT DURING DAYLIGHT HOURS, NOW BECOME HOTBEDS
OF ACTIVITY. MANY BALCONIES BECOME HOME BASE FOR NECKLACE AND
DOUBLOON PITCHERS WHO TEMPT THE TEEMING ELBOW-TO-ELBOW CROWDS
BELOW WITH THE SAME CHEAP TRINKETS THAT ARE THROWN DURING PARADES.
WILD SCRAMBLES ENSUE AS THESE COLORFUL REMEMBRANCES ARE DROPPED
TO THE EAGER STREET CROWDS BELOW. THOSE LUCKY ENOUGH TO CATCH A
STRING OF BEADS WEAR THEM PROUDLY AROUND THEIR NECK. OCCASIONALLY,
A BALCONY BECOMES A STAGE FOR AN UNINHIBITED YOUNG LADY AS SHE DANCES
EROTICALLY FOR THE CHEERING ONLOOKERS. IT SHOULD BE POINTED OUT,
OF COURSE, THAT DURING MARDI GRAS, SUCH DISPLAYS ARE TOLERATED BY
THE LAW. ON THE STREET BELOW, OPENINGS THAT WERE MERELY DOORWAYS
BY DAY BECOME TEMPORARY BEER, WINE, OR "HURRICANE" STANDS AT NIGHT
(A HURRICANE IS A VERY POTENT RUM BASED DRINK THAT IS EXTREMELY
POPULAR IN NEW ORLEANS). NO GLASS BOTTLES OR CANS ARE ALLOWED IN
THE FRENCH QUARTER DURING MARDI GRAS, BUT THE MERCHANTS WHO DEAL
IN SPIRITS OBLIGE THE THIRSTY CROWDS BY SELLING THEIR QUENCHING
DRINKS IN LARGE QUART OR FORTY OUNCE PAPER CUPS. A QUART OF DRAFT
BEER DURING MARDI GRAS USUALLY SELLS FOR ABOUT $1.50 .
DURING THE DAY, EVERY FRENCH QUARTER STREET APPEARS EQUALLY
INTERESTING, AND THE CROWDS SEEM EVENLY DISTRIBUTED AMONG THEM.
AT NIGHT, HOWEVER, BOURBON STREET UNDOUBTEDLY BECOMES THE CENTER
OF ATTENTION. LITERALLY FROM DUSK UNTIL DAWN, THE STREET IS
COVERED BY A CURB TO CURB CARPET OF HUMANITY. BOURBON STREET, LIKE
MOST OF THE NARROW VIEUX CARRE STREETS, IS CLOSED TO AUTOMOBILE
TRAFFIC DURING CARNIVAL EVENINGS, LEAVING IT FREE TO BECOME ANYTHING
FROM A LARGE DANCE FLOOR, TO AN INSTANT JAZZ BANDSTAND, TO AN
IMPROMPTU PARADE ROUTE. IMPRESSIONS OF BOURBON ON A CLEAR AND WARM
MARDI GRAS NIGHT WILL REMAIN ETCHED IN ONES MIND FOREVER, AS THE
MAGIC OF THIS STREET LITERALLY ATTACKS ALL OF ONES SENSES. PERHAPS
THE STRONGEST OF THESE OVERWHELMING IMPRESSIONS IS CREATED BY THE
PIERCING SOUND OF JAZZ MUSIC THAT CONTINUALLY FILLS THE AIR. DURING
MARDI GRAS, ONE SEEMS NEVER TO BE OUT OF EARSHOT OF THIS GREAT
SOUND THAT WAS BORN ON BOURBON STREET NEARLY A CENTURY AGO. THE
ARTISTS WHO PROVIDE THIS FINE MUSIC, CONTRARY TO WHAT ONE MAY EXPECT,
ARE NOT YOUNG MEN, BUT INSTEAD, ARE SEASONED VETERANS OF THE JAZZ
CIRCIUT, MANY OF WHOM ARE IN THEIR FIFTIES, SIXTIES, OR EVEN
SEVENTIES. THESE GREATS, IT SEEMS, ARE ATTRACTED TO THE FRENCH
QUARTER AS IF IT WERE A GIANT MAGNET DURING MARDI GRAS, THE BEST
OF THE BEST INVADE BOURBON STREET, AND BECAUSE OF THIS,
THE MUSIC THAT ONE HEARS HERE IS THE BEST DIXIE JAZZ TO BE HEARD
ANYWHERE IN THE WORLD. THE LARGE WINDOWS, WIDE OPENED
FRENCH DOORS, AND THE HIGH STAGES IN THE CLUBS WHERE THESE MASTERS
PERFORM ALLOW THE MUSIC AND THE MUSICIANS TO BE APPRECIATED NOT
ONLY BY THOSE INSIDE, BUT ALSO BY THE HYSTERICALLY HAPPY MASSES
WHO JAM THE STREETS. AND WHEN ONE IS READY TO TAKE A "REST" FROM
THIS MAD STREET SCENE, THERE IS A GOOD CHANCE HE WILL END UP AMONG
THOSE CROWDED TOGETHER IN THE STANDING ROOM ONLY GATHERING AT
PRESERVATION HALL, TO HEAR WHAT IS PERHAPS THE EPITOME OF SOLID
NEW ORLEANS JAZZ. THE CONSTANT SOUND OF JAZZ MUSIC THAT ROLLS OUT
INTO THE STREETS OF THE FRENCH QUARTER LEADS QUITE NATURALLY TO AN
ABUNDANCE OF UNCONTROLLABLE DANCING. MARDI GRAS, IT SEEMS, HAS
A WAY OF FREEING THE PENT UP INHIBITIONS OF ALL PRESENT, AND THIS
RELEASE MANIFESTS ITSELF BEST THROUGH WILD DANCING. YOUNG AND OLD
PEOPLE ALIKE, INSPIRED BY A FEW DRINKS, SOME GREAT MUSIC, AND THE
FACT THAT THEY ARE OFTEN INDISTINGUISHABLE BEHIND ELABORATE
COSTUMES, LET THEMSELVES GO. PERHAPS A COUPLE WILL SIMPLY START
DANCING ON A CROWDED STREET CORNER; OR MAYBE A HUGE CIRCLE OF
FIFTY OR SIXTY DANCERS WILL FORM SPONTANEOUSLY AROUND A "SPASM"
BAND, COMPRISED OF MUSICIANS PLAYING ON KAZOOS, EMPTY BEER CANS,
AND OLD TREE LIMBS. OR PERHAPS A SNAKE LIKE CARAVAN OF DANCING
BODIES WILL WIND ITS WAY THROUGH THE THRONG, LED BY A MAN IN A
GORILLA SUIT PLAYING A SOUR VERSION OF "WHEN THE SAINTS COME
MARCHING IN" ON A RUSTY TRUMPET. MINUTES LATER, ONE MAY FIND A
LARGE CROWD GATHERED AROUND A GROUP OF FOUR, EIGHT YEAR OLD BLACK
BOYS, TWO OF WHOM ARE FEVERISHLY TAP DANCING WHILE THE THIRD SHINES
THE SHOES OF INTERESTED ONLOOKERS AND THE FOURTH BUSILY CIRCULATES
THROUGH THE CROWD PASSING A BEAT UP OLD TOP HAT. THE CROWD
CONTRIBUTES GENEROUSLY, FOR THEY ARE BEING ENTERTAINED, AND THEY
LOVE EVERY MINUTE OF IT. BUT ASIDE FROM SIMPLY "BEING ENTERTAINED",
THE MARDI GRAS CROWD IS ALSO THE ENTERTAINER -- AND EVERYTHING ONE
SEES DURING MARDI GRAS, IN SOME STRANGELY INEXPLICABLE SENSE,
BECOMES AMUSING. ESPECIALLY WHILE IN THE FRENCH QUARTER, ONE NEVER
KNOWS WHERE TO LOOK NEXT. LOOK IN ONE DIRECTION, AND YOU CAN SEE
A BEAUTIFUL YOUNG LADY, DANCING ENTHUSIASTICALLY TO JAZZ MUSIC, WHO
REFUSES TO SPILL A DROP FROM THE CUP FULL OF BEER THAT BALANCES
STEADILY ON HER HEAD. LOOK IN ANOTHER DIRECTION, AND SEE SEVERAL
OVER-ZEALOUS DRINKERS, SLEEPING WITH BOWED HEADS ON NARROW
DOORSTEPS, WHO ARE COMPLETELY OBLIVIOUS TO THE NOISY CROWD THAT
SHUFFLES PAST THEM. FURTHER ENTERTAINMENT MAY BE PROVIDED BY A
DANCING SEVENTY YEAR OLD MAN SPORTING A FULL, GREEN BEARD; OR BY A
HELL AND DAMNATION PREACHER WHO CONDEMNS THE CROWD FOR THEIR LOOSE
AND CAREFREE LIFESTYLES; OR BY THE BANTERING BARKERS WHO TRY TO
LURE PASSERS-BY INTO THEIR BOURBON STREET STRIP PALACES, WHERE
THE DRINKS ARE WEAK AND THE PRICES ARE STRONG. IN TIME, IT SEEMS,
EVERYONE BECOMES THE CENTER OF ATTENTION OR THE PROVIDER OF A
GOOD, HEARTY LAUGH. THIS, PERHAPS, IS THE
KEY BEHIND THE CONTINUAL SUCCESS OF THE NEW ORLEANS MARDI GRAS
CARNIVAL. EVERYONE PARTICIPATES; PEOPLE LAUGH AT AND WITH EACH
OTHER; AND BECAUSE THOUSANDS IN FULL COSTUME MINGLE TOGETHER, IT
IS POSSIBLE, WITHIN THE SPAN OF A FEW MINUTES, TO WALK WITH DEATH,
DRINK RUM WITH BLUEBEARD, AND DANCE WITH A RED GORILLA. IT IS
A RELEASE THAT MANY PEOPLE NEED, AND ONE THAT SEEMS TO WORK
WONDERS FOR THOSE WHO PARTICIPATE IN THIS ANNUAL SPRINGTIME
CELEBRATION. ARRIVING HOME AFTER CELEBRATING MARDI GRAS IN SUCH
A WAY, MANY, NO DOUBT, WILL RECALL A SONG THEY HEARD SO MANY TIMES
WHILE WALKING THE STREETS OF THE FRENCH QUARTER, FOR NOW THEY TOO
"KNOW WHAT IT MEANS TO MISS NEW ORLEANS."

Data entry tech comment: AMEN

Where learned: LOUISIANA ; New Orleans

Subject headings: 663 Mardi Gras
CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- Spring Planting After all

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CUSTOM: TRINITY SUNDAY

HOLY TRINITY: TRINITY SUNDAY IS CALLED ZIELONE SWIATKI WHICH MEANS "GREEN
HOLIDAY", SO ON THIS SUNDAY THE PEOPLE DECORATE THE INSIDE OF
THEIR HOMES WITH THE BRANCHES OF THE BIRCH TREE.

Submitter comment:

First Sunday after Pentecost.

Where learned: HOME

Subject headings: CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- Spring Planting Pentecost
CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- Spring Planting After all

Date learned: 11-27-1967

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BLESSING

SOMETIME IN MAY (A MOVEABLE DATE, SINCE IT IS A CERTAIN NUMBER OF
DAYS AFTER EASTER) FOR THREE DAYS THE PRIEST GOES AROUND WITH THE
PEOPLE IN PROCESSION PLACING WOODEN CROSSES EVERY SO OFTEN AND
BLESSING THE SURROUNDING AREA. THE PEOPLE ARE THEN SUPPOSE(D) TO
SAY 3 OUR FATHERS AND 3 HAIL MARYS.

Data entry tech comment:

Informant and collector share the same surname.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; KALAMAZOO ; informant's home

Subject headings: CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- Spring Planting After all

Date learned: 02-18-1971

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DUNKING DAYS

CHILDREN IN PENNSYLVANIA CELEBRATE DUNKING
DAYS ON TWO CONSECUTIVE SUNDAYS IN MAY OR JUNE
AROUND WHITSUNDAY. ON THE FIRST SUNDAY, THE
BOYS ATTEMPT TO WET THE GIRLS WITH WATER. ON
THE FOLLOWING SUNDAY, THE GIRLS ATTEMPT TO WET
THE BOYS. I DON'T KNOW WHEN I FIRST HEARD ABOUT
THIS CUSTOM, BUT MY MOTHER TOLD ME THAT SHE CELEBRATED
DUNKING DAYS IN DUQUESNE, PENNSYLVANIA AROUND 1945.

Submitter comment: THE INFORMANT ADVISES THAT HER MOTHER'S NAME IS
MARY MORSILLO GINGERICH, BORN OCTOBER 3, 1937,
FARRELL, PENNSYLVANIA.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; ROYAL OAK

James Callow Keyword(s): SEXISM

Subject headings: Favorites
CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- May
CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- June
CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- Measure of time Week Day Hour
CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- Spring Planting After all

Date learned: 09-00-1982

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HUNGARIANS DON'T GO SWIMMING BEFORE TRINITY SUNDAY.

Where learned: NOT GIVEN

Subject headings: CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- Entertainment Diversion
CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- Spring Planting After all

Date learned: 11-11-1968

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BREAD AT THE GRAVE

ON THE THIRD DAY OF EASTER, TWO PIECES OF BREAD ARE PUT
ON A GRAVE WHILE A PRIEST IS HAVING A SERVICE OVER IT.
THE BELIEF (STILL FOLLOWED BY SOME UKRAINIANS) IS
THAT THE DECEASED IN PURGATORY WILL HAVE IT EASIER--
THE BREAD SYMBOLIZING FOOD FOR HIS SOUL.

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; DETROIT

Subject headings: Favorites
CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- Spring Planting After all
BELIEF -- Death Funeral Burial
BELIEF -- Use of Object

Date learned: 11-02-1969

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showing 12 items

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