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The Reflector

The Student Newspaper of Mississippi State University

The Reflector

The Student Newspaper of Mississippi State University

The Reflector

Mardi Gras’ famous traditions continue

Jacob Follin

Mardi Gras dates back thousands of years and continues its traditions today. Parades and King Cakes are some of the major attractions of the holiday. Strangebrew is currently selling these cakes starting at $19.99. 

Mardi Gras is just around the corner beginning on Feb. 9 and it is almost time to start preparing for the frivolous festivities. 

Every year, thousands of people gather in the city of New Orleans to celebrate Mardi Gras, also known as Fat Tuesday or Carnival.

However, Mardi Gras is not only celebrated in New Orleans but also throughout the rest of the country and the world. According to it dates back thousands of years and originates in Rome. The festivities began as pagan traditions of spring and fertility.

 The Roman Catholic church decided to incorporate such festivities into its own traditions rather than being forced to abolish them completely, making it a prelude to Lent. 

In the days leading up to Lent, Catholics’ diets  consisted solely of milk, meat, eggs and cheese, before they were expected to fast on fish for the next 40 days of Lent. This is where the alternate name for Mardi Gras, “Fat Tuesday,” comes into play. 

Mardi Gras was brought into the United States when the French landed in Louisiana in 1699. Since then, it has evolved into a legal holiday in the state of Louisiana. 

Mardi Gras’ traditions and customs still include throwing trinkets and beads, decorating floats, eating king cake and wearing exotic masks. However, the event has become more than a prelude to Lent. 

For Mollie Houin, a sophomore kinesiology major, it is a time to reunite with her family. 

“I go to Mardi Gras every year because it is a family tradition. My whole family lives in New Orleans so I would never miss going,” Houin said

At the three-day parade, people primarily throw beads of royal colors–purple for justice, green for faith and gold for power–to celebrate the state holiday. The logic behind using the colors was to throw the color to a person who has shown the color’s meaning. The parades also consist of floats and bands marching down the streets. 

Houin said her favorite part about Mardi Gras is being around all of the people.

“There are all kinds of different people there and everyone has their own way of celebrating so it’s really cool to get to experience it,” she said.

Today, the parades in New Orleans have a reputation to outsiders who have never experienced the magic of Mardi Gras, that it is filled with intoxicated people doing insane things to get someone to throw beads at them. 

Julia Knight, freshman biological engineering major who has attended Mardi Gras since she was a small child, said she refutes those preconceived notions. 

“The stereotype is partially true. However, the types of parades I have always been too to are very family oriented,” Knight said. “Everyone will stand on the street and watch the floats and bands go by while screaming ‘hey mister’ to try to get people to throw them beads off of the floats. Other people would really get into the bands and start dancing with them. It’s really like a big street party.”

In the case that one is not able to make the four hour drive to New Orleans or three and a half hour drive to the Gulf Coast to participate in the event, one is more than capable to have their own celebration right here in Starkville. 

There are some places around Starkville doing their part to spread Mardi Gras cheer.

Just five minutes from campus, Strangebrew is selling King Cakes starting at $19.99. Also, Party Market in Columbus has Mardi Gras items to celebrate Mardi Gras such as masks, hats, centerpieces, tiaras, banners, and balloons. 

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Mardi Gras’ famous traditions continue