By Cayla Byrnes
The Old Pine Community Center just celebrated our 10th Annual Mardi Gras Party and Silent Auction. We had live music from the Al Harrison Dixieland Band, catering from Catahoula Restaurant, and dancers. There was a fantastic group of staff and volunteers who worked together to transform our gym into a hall fit for a Mardi Gras celebration with purple, gold, and green decorations. Party goers ate New Orleans inspired food, drank Hurricane Cocktails, and bid on prizes. Our Mardi Gras celebration would not have been what it was without our staff, our donors, and our supportive community.
Mardi Gras translates to “Fat Tuesday” in French and is usually celebrated on Tuesday before Ash Wednesday and the start of Lent. While the popular celebration dates back thousands of years, the first American Mardi Gras was celebrated on March 3, 1699 in what is now New Orleans, Louisiana. It is primarily a celebration of indulgence of fatty foods and drink before the fasting of Lent begins. It is celebrated with live music, street performers, floats, costumes, food, and beverages. The color scheme for Mardi Gras is easily recognized as purple, gold and green.
While famously known as a New Orleans holiday celebration, Mardi Gras is celebrated around the world in predominantly Roman Catholic populations. Another pre-Lenten celebration similar to Mardi Gras is known as Carnival. Primarily celebrated in Brazil and Caribbean countries, it is an infusion of both European and African traditions. In Brazil, one of the most famous Carnival celebrations is known as the Rio de Janeiro Carnival. This week long celebration involves samba dancers and music, dressing up in colorful outfits, and indulgence of food and drink. The Rio de Janeiro Carnival attracts residents and tourists from around the globe.
Carnival is also a famous two day celebration in Trinidad and Tobago. Beginning with the pre-dawn party of J’Ouvert on Monday morning, Carnival is celebrated until the start of Ash Wednesday. Carnival Tuesday is the main attraction of the event when bands plays and dresses up with feathers and body paint. Thousands of spectators come to watch the parade and listen to the music.
We hope to see you next year for our 11th Annual Mardi Gras celebration!