It's no secret that Mardi Gras has long been considered the world's biggest party... an age-old tradition enjoyed by millions... and the 2013 Mardi Gras will be no exception! Only seven years after that monstrous storm, New Orleans is primed, painted and prepared to play host to the world... and as always, "The show must go on!" In New Orleans, there's no business like show business... especially when the show is... Mardi Gras!
Mardi Gras always falls on the Tuesday that is 46 days before Easter... always the day before Ash Wednesday, which is the start of Lent... February 13, 2013 - but that actually marks the end to all the "serious" partying. It's the season of revelry before Mardi Gras that draws the big crowds and one name says it all... Carnival! Carnival officially begins on January 6, which is known as Twelfth Night or King's Day, so named because it falls 12 days after Christmas on the day the Wise Men are said to have reached Bethlehem. By now it should be clear that the world's biggest party is also rooted in religion... well, amen to that and hallelujah, too!
Carnival celebrations fall into two categories: public and private. The private celebrations are balls held by clubs or Krewes as they are known. Some Krewes are open to everyone while others are very exclusive and made up mostly of FONOF (fine old New Orleans families). The public celebrations take the form of parades, sponsored by the very Krewes that hold the balls for members only... and much the same as last year, this year's celebrations will embrace as many people as possible. New Orleans is still a city in "recovery" and that includes "recovering" its people.
There will be however more parades this year than last! New Orleans' many Krewes have for the most part reassembled, redecorated and rededicated themselves to Mardi Gras. If you're looking for up to the minute information on the Krewes and their parade dates, check MardiGras.com... you'll find all things Mardi Gras right there!
Mardi Gras 2013 marks the 157th year of the Mardi Gras parade in New Orleans. This year also marks another step in the giant plan to bring New Orleans back, and that includes everyone who made this city great... visitors and locals alike! If Mardi Gras can be a conduit for just a little healing... well then, why not party on and spread a little cheer just like past generations demonstrated when Mardi Gras returned after other tragedies... like the World Wars, for instance! Still... and for the very first time, the city's party image must also be balanced by one of financial responsibility. Bummer... but a reality nonetheless!
At least the colors of Mardi Gras have remained untarnished: purple, green and gold, chosen long ago in 1872 by that year's Rex, or King of Mardi Gras . In 1892, the colors were given meaning - purple for justice, green for faith and gold for power. A special "cake" is also celebrated (and eaten) during Mardi Gras and Carnival Season: the king cake. Sweet, roll-like dough is shaped into a big circle, cooked and brushed with purple, green and gold sugar or icing. Then a plastic baby, representing the Christ child, is tucked inside. Whoever gets the piece of cake with the baby must, by tradition, provide the next king cake... (and avoid choking as well)!
"Laissez les bon temps roulez" has never meant more in the city that never sleeps, and one thing's for sure... this year's party will be bigger and better than last... and that's a sure sign of a much needed return to normalcy, though the disaster that was Katrina will not soon be forgotten! One phrase still echoes throughout the Quarter, "It is the PEOPLE that make New Orleans great!" OK... we keep hearing that we are an integral part of the party... even of every day life in New Orleans, so it is more important than ever to support the city that recognizes our value! So, let's all meet in the Quarter and have a whole lotta fun... day and night... sound like a plan?
Have you ever seen a Mardi Gras parade? If not - or you'd like to relieve good memories - then take a look at our Mardi Gras videos of past parades and mis-behavior! Our Mardi Gras photo galleries offer another way to experience Mardi Gras from the comfort of your home...
If you're planning a trip to Mardi Gras then you'd better get busy... you have to find a hotel room, figure out whether you're flying or driving, and decide which New Orleans restaurants you're going to hit, which New Orleans bars & nightclubs you'll visit, which New Orleans attractions to see! We can help you book your hotel online, find flight tickets, or rent a car.
Maybe you're one of those with an historical interest... then you don't want to miss our History of Mardi Gras. It'll full you on those juicy little tidbits that make for great bar conversation!
If you're planning on traveling to New Orleans for Mardi Gras , you should take the time to read through our Survival Tips and Mardi Gras Basics. These are the time-honored rules for enjoying Mardi Gras - and staying out of trouble!
If you have any questions, comments, or advice, our New Orleans Mardi Gras Message Board is the place to go!