Dear Amy in Pittsburgh,
Mardi Gras . . . where to begin. I, too, prior to moving to Louisiana, thought Mardi Gras was a parade in New Orleans, the night before Lent starts. But oh, no. SO no. Mardi Gras is a celebration lasting several weeks. The festivities always start on Jan. 6th and end the night before Lent starts, which is variable, this year February 16th. These several weeks are filled with various assorted merriments; parades, parties, costumes, gumbo cook-offs, chicken runs (from what I can tell, a chicken is let loose, and a bunch of kids try to catch it. ??? I think this is mostly in rural parts of LA.), trail rides (on horseback), King Cakes, beads, etc. Folks decorate their houses in the traditional Mardi Gras colors; purple, gold and green. And it's not just in New Orleans. It's the whole state! Louisiana is the only state in the country where Mardi Gras is an official holiday. No mail, the banks are closed, the kids are off TWO days of school. It's nuts. But it is interesting. I still haven't figured the whole thing out, but I can tell you, it's bigger than Christmas. I wrote a blog or two on Mardi Gras with some photos last year around this time, if you want to look in the archives.
Thanks so much for following the blog. And thank you for all your prayers for my family last year. God heard every one of them.