Q:

Why do people wear masks during Mardi Gras?

A:

Quick Answer

People wear masks during Mardi Gras to add excitement to their festivities. According to the International Business Times, Mardi Gras is an opportunity for people to abandon social constraint by donning a mask to celebrate Fat Tuesday.

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Why do people wear masks during Mardi Gras?
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Full Answer

In the original Mardi Gras celebrations hundreds of years ago, masks allowed people to be someone else for a few days. Social classes were broken down, and the population mingled without fear of repercussions. Additionally, people could engage in all types of decadent behavior in an anonymous fashion.

Today, masks are still central to Mardi Gras celebrations. The ability to escape the daily grind of life by joining with other masked participants creates the mystique of the revelry.

In southern Louisiana, smaller parishes have specific styles of mask unique to their population. In the French Quarter of New Orleans, shopping for a mask provides a variety of options from simple to elaborately designed. While wearing a mask is legal on Fat Tuesday, store owners frequently ask patrons to remove their masks before stepping into the store.

Celebrating a 300-year history in New Orleans, Mardi Gras calls on French ancestry and traditions of masked balls and public entertaining on a grand scale. Blended with the African cultural traditions of dancing and ritual art, the New Orlean's Mardi Gras celebration boasts a masked party unrivaled in the United States.

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Related Questions

  • Q:

    When is Mardi Gras?

    A:

    Mardi Gras falls on the Tuesday immediately before Ash Wednesday, which is the official beginning of Lent. Mardi Gras is seen as a hedonistic celebration that will prepare revelers for the period of fasting and religious self control that follows during Lent.

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  • Q:

    What does "Mardi Gras" mean?

    A:

    In French, the word "Mardi" means "Tuesday," and the word "gras" means "fat," meaning that Mardi Gras translates to English as "Fat Tuesday." The name comes from the practice of preparing for the start of a period of fasting on Ash Wednesday, which immediately follows Mardi Gras. This preparation may involve eating rich foods and using up ingredients like fat, eggs and dairy, which may not be allowed during Lent.

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  • Q:

    What is a Mardi Gras doubloon?

    A:

    Mardi Gras doubloons are large metallic coins with no real monetary value that are manufactured to be handed out during Mardi Gras parades and celebrations. The doubloon is one of the traditional 'throws' that are tossed to parade audiences and other revelers; other throws include beads and small trinkets.

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  • Q:

    How long are the Mardi Gras parades?

    A:

    Mardi Gras parade schedules tend to include start times for parades, but not end times, making it hard to predict exactly how long a parade will take. Factors that influence the duration of the parade include the length of the parade route, with longer routes taking longer to complete.

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