Why Do People Wear Masks During Mardi Gras?

people-wear-masks-during-mardi-gras Credit: Ray Laskowitz/Lonely Planet Images/Getty Images

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.

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.