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The Celebration of Mardi Gras/ Sara Surber


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For my PR writing course, I wrote a backgrounder for the celebration of Mardi Gras centered around its history.

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The Celebration of Mardi Gras/ Sara Surber

  1. 1. Sara M. Surber<br />Professor Sonya Daniel<br />Backgrounder: Mardi Gras<br />February 17, 2010<br />The Celebration of Mardi Gras<br />Mardi Gras is made up of a variety of Carnival celebrations. This widely celebrated event begins after Epiphany and ends the day before Ash Wednesday. The French refer to this day as “Fat Tuesday.” Popular practices of eating richly and drinking excessively are associated with the festivities leading up to the season of Lent. Lent is a Christian ritual that requires self-denial, penitence, and prayer. It can last for up to forty days depending on the religious denomination. Conventionally, this celebration begins after Epiphany, which is a Christian feast that commemorates the baptism of Jesus.<br />The celebrations associated with this festival season originated from Mobile, Ala. In earlier times, parades and balls were held on New Year’s Day. In Mobile the social events of Mardi Gras begin in November and continue until the midnight before Ash Wednesday. Since Mobile other cities have also become famous for their Mardi Gras celebrations. The most famous city in the United States has become New Orleans, La.<br />Customs associated with this celebration include; wearing masks, dancing, sports competitions, balls, feasts, and parades. Locally these festivities are condensed into a five-day period leading up to “Fat Tuesday.”<br />Friday night the Krewe of Lafitte illuminated parade was held at 8 p.m. on Palafox Street in downtown Pensacola. The Pensacola Grand Mardi Gras parade was also held downtown on Saturday afternoon. Hundreds of people attended the event where alcoholic beverages were served on the streets and passing floats threw beads and candy to the crowds.<br />Food is also at the heart of any Mardi Gras celebration. Traditional foods associated with this festival include Cajun boiled crawfish and shrimp, jambalaya, red beans and rice, and the infamous king cake. King cake originated from 12th Century France and ties back to the religious feast of Epiphany. This treat features a surprise hidden somewhere inside the cake. Most cakes feature a plastic baby to symbolize the baby Jesus.<br />For many this festive season provides an excuse to indulge and party. It has been celebrated in Paris since the Middle Ages as a major holiday. The tradition came to America in 1699 and has evolved into the culmination of popular social events celebrated by hundreds of thousands of people today. <br />References<br />Foster, Kristen "It's not Mardi Gras without king cake." Pensacola News Journal 10 Feb. 2010. <br />12 Feb.2010.< It-s-not-Mardi-Gras-without-king-cake>. <br /> Greenfield, Jodianne "Beads, MoonPies, candy shower downtown Pensacola." Voyager 7 Feb. <br />2008. 12 Feb. 20010 <>. <br /> <br />Parramore, Marcus "Mardi Gras Dazzles All." Voyager 16 Feb. 2010. <br /><>. <br />Staff "Mardi Gras events in full swing." Pensacola News Journal 11 Feb. 2010. 12 Feb. 2010 <br /> < <br /> Gras-events-in-full-swing>. <br /> <br />