Feb 28, 200608:03 AMThe Life
Feb 28, 2006 - 08:03 AMThe Mardi Gras season begins on January 6 and continues until Fat Tuesday (today, one last day of gluttony and excess before the fasting period of Lent), 47 days before Easter. This holiday was brought to New Orleans on March 3, 1699 by the French explorer, Iberville. Early celebrations were held on the banks of the Mississippi. Nowadays, krewes (organizations) host parades and balls.
During the late 1700's, masked balls and festivals were common in New Orleans, while it was under French rule. However, when the Spanish took over, these customs were banned. New Orleans became part of the U.S. in 1803, but the prohibition against masked balls was not lifted until 1823, when the Creole populace convinced the governor to relent.
The first documented parade occurred in 1837.
The official colors for Mardi Gras were established in 1872 by Rex, the King of Carnival - purple for justice, green for faith and gold for power.
The throwing of bead necklaces began during the 1920's and 30's.
The flashing-for-beads practice of some women is a much more recent development.