Your Guide To Mardi Gras, New Orleans

Mardi Gras is a celebration of outstanding food, high jinks, late night partying and deep American soul and you can find it in the heart of the south, New Orleans. Mardi Gras or Fat Tuesday as it is colloquially known is a huge marching procession through the center of New Orleans where people dress up, dance and sing the day and night away in a colorful and loud display life. Tasty food, creative drinks and lots of fun is the order of the day at Mardi Gras and if you want to be part of the action this year then here is your handy guide.

When?

The idea of the festival is to have a final blow out before lent and as such the celebrations take place throughout the two weeks leading up to shrove Tuesday. The two biggest days of the festival are Fat Monday and Fat Tuesday, these are the days when the processions take place throughout the town.

How Does it All Take Place?

The parades that take place though many streets in New Orleans are organized by Krewes, these are local social clubs who put together the event and organize the floats. There are several different types of floats which go through the city, each organized by various Krewes and as the floats pass they will throw out beaded necklaces to the people on the street.

Resellers are encouraged to wear colorful clothing as well as costumes and masks to the event and each year sees some pretty outlandish costumes. It should be noted that members of the Krewes will not wear fancy dress until after Fat Tuesday. Laws that exist about concealing your identity are suspended for a day and the revelers can wear whatever they like across their faces.

King of the Carnival

Each year the Krewes of the carnival have the responsibility of erecting the king of the carnival, Rex. The Rex motto is Pro Bono Publico—for the public good” and this is placed in the center of the french quarter of the city to celebrate the festival.

What to Expect as a Visitor

Heading to New Orleans Mardi Gras as a visitor you should expect to have the party of your life, a non-stop wall to wall festival which involves every bar and eatery across the city. The festival has also become a celebration of all things New Orleans which include the food so expect to see lots of good, old fashioned southern fried food on offer.

Hotels will be tough to get so make sure that you get in quick if you want to enjoy the Mardi Gras in style. The throws which are tossed from the floats can be of great value so try to hang on to what you manage to grab. Other than the parade you will be able to enjoy a lot of fun in the city bars and on the city streets as you enjoy the carnival together and one thing is for sure that once you have been to Mardi Gras once, you will want to come back again and again.

Your Guide to ‘The Day Of The Dead’ in Mexico

As far as worldwide festivals go, there are none that are more haunting, more colorful, more spiritual and more all encompassing than Day of the Dead is to the Mexican people. Day of the Dead or Dia de los Muertos is a celebration and remembrance by the Mexicans of those who have passed on and across three days, they will use rituals and traditions in order to give thanks to the lives of their loved ones and remember with fondness the lives which they lived.

Let’s take a look at exactly what this festival consists of and how it is celebrated.

When and Where?

Celebrations take place throughout Mexico, some towns take it much more seriously and have far greater celebrations than others but all Mexicans celebrate this festival. Day of the Dead takes place between October 31st and November 2nd with each day relevant for the different souls who have died.

On the 31st of October, Halloween is widely celebrated throughout Mexico, as it is in many other parts of the World. Traditionally this would have been part of the day of the dead celebrations but modern influences have altered this day slightly.

 

The 1st of November is dia de los inocentes and dia de los angelitos, this is the day that is dedicated to those who were killed by accidents or children who have died. The 2nd of November is dia de los muertos o dia de los difuntos which means day of the dead and this is the day where all of those who have died are celebrated.

What Are The Rituals and Traditions

The majority of day of the dead traditions are centered around the ofrendas that are given towards the dead. These ofrendas are displays which often consist of similar objects that are placed in the home, on the streets, in churches or even at gravesides to remember the dead.

The offenders usually consist of  the highly scented Cempasuchil flower, orange in color, these flowers are to attract the should of the dead. The altar or ofrenda will also be set on three tiers to represent the three stages of life, below Earth, Earth and the Heavens. Around the altar you will find water to quench thirst on the journey to the afterlife, salt, to heal wounds and candles to signify life. You will also find skulls and foods and drinks that the dead person enjoyed placed on their altar as well as a photo of the dead. These altars will remain in place for around a week.

Pan de Muerto

A sweet bread is often consumed around the day of the dead festival and is a loaf-style bread, heavily sugared with bone-shaped portions.

Dress

The clavier style has become heavily associated with day of the dead and Halloween costumes, these are living dead style outfits that are incredibly intricate and impressive to see. The female version of the costume is the Catarina, a beautiful women’s outfit with skulls for faces.

Wherever you go throughout Mexico during this time of year you will see altars and processions for day of the dead and it is a great festival to be involved with.