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Mardi-Gras - The History

( Originally Published Early 1900's )



The Mardi-Gras is the festival preceding the first day of Lent, or Ash Wednesday. Most of the distinctive ceremonies now annually performed in New Orleans were originally introduced by the French population as early as 1827. The day is a legal holiday, and the entire city is for the time ostensibly placed under the control of a king of the carnival, the great "Rex." There are two principal pageants. The first, in the day-time, is the escort of the "beloved Rex," through his favorite city; the other, or night pageant, is known as the "Mystick Krewe of Comus." This has a character altogether unique. The first display was in 1857. On Twelfth night (January 6), the "Knights of Momus" have a display analogous to the Mardi-Gras, but more exclusively burlesque, and in which they satirize the follies of the age. The arrangements for these celebrations come within the control of quite an elaborate organization. The Mardi-Gras is held on Shrove Tuesday, a day of pleasure in most Roman Catholic countries. It is the carnival of the Italians, the Mardi-Gras of the French, and the Pancake Tuesday of former times in England.



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