Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Mardi Gras in Lake Charles

Colorful beads, beautiful sequenced costumes and lively music will welcome and surround you in Lake Charles, Louisiana. Mardi Gras means Fat Tuesday, which comes before Ash Wednesday. A year ago I had the pleasure of being in Louisiana for Mardi Gras. I was directed to a great family town, Lake Charles, for parades, decorating a king cake, lively music, the Krewe of Krewes and delicious seafood; like gumbo. I've watched many unique and beautiful floats over the past few years, but it is nothing compared to actually being on a float in the parade and tossing beads to kids and adults along the street/parade route. It was a little chilly and raining the day we participated in the parade. If you aren't aware, they have a parade for each krewe, it's quite interesting. Mardi Gras has evolved from one day to week long celebrations. There's even a parade of boats on the lake. We were in the Red Hat Ladies parade (no, I'm not that old, not even quite), however there were men driving the floats and keeping the music going, and even a few kids onboard. I've never seen so many beads in one place!  A rainbow of colorful beads draped on the nails inside the floats. We tossed to young children, to men and women, to people who used to be strangers, who are now friends. "Throw me something!" Was the chorus along the streets where tailgating came to a whole new meaning. There's symbology, or meaning to everything about Mardi Gras. The throwing of beads didn't actually start until the 1920's. The purple represents justice; the green symbolizes faith and the gold exemplifies power ad they come in a plethora of shapes and sizes. Krewes even give out their own unique trinket, or doubloons with their logo embossed. The King Cake for example, when you bite into a king cake and if you get the golden baby, means you are the king or queen of the party and it also means you have to bring the king cake to the next party. King Cake is traditionally oblong or oval shaped cinnamon dough, glazed and sprinkled! Most have fillings of strawberry, cream cheese or apple. King Cake season officially opens January 6, the feast of the Epiphany. this is only a small portion of what Mardi Gras means and has to offer. Millions of people participate and enjoy Mardi Gras around the globe, with various cultures coming together to celebrate the things that make them unique. For a list of events go to: www.visitlakecharles.org

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