The James T. Callow Folklore Archive
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About two weeks before the Lenten fasting begins, the people of New Orleans celebrate the festival of "Mardi Gras."
Actually, "Mardi Gras" means "Fat Tuesday," and this is the day before Ash Wednesday. But the people celebrate for a couple weeks beforehand, much the same way as most people celebrate Christmas.
Mardi Gras is characterized by its magnificaent parades. Various groups spend enormous amounts of time, effort and money to make their floats as beautiful as possible. throughout the parade, people sit on the floats and throw trinkets, beads and other cheap toys to the crowds who clamor to see who can catch the most. Many of these articles are virtually worthless, but I have seen expensive beads, gold pieces and even $20.00 bills being thrown too.
Besides this, each parade has its own particular name (eg- the Rex Parade) and throws off "dubloons" with the name of the parade and that year stamped on it. A "dubloon" is a silver-dollar sized plastic coin, always in purple, gold or green. Long after Mardi Gras is over, people continue to trade dubloons-to try to get a dubloon of each color from each parade. This collection of worthless plastic coins can be quite valuable.
So the parades, dubloons, balls and parties make Mardi Gras the most festive time of the whole year in New Orleans, Louisiana.
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|Subject headings:||CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- Spring Planting|