HONOLULU (KHON2) – “Throw me some pearls, mister,” is a common request anyone visiting Mardi Gras in Louisiana, Mississippi or the Alabama Gulf Coast will hear.
Mardi Gras is, quite simply, French for Fat Tuesday. But, Fat Tuesday is only one day of a much longer season known as the carnival season.
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This year, the carnival began on January 6 and will end at 11:59 pm on Fat Tuesday, February 21. Carnival is a Catholic tradition that has permeated all cultures around the world. It is a period of decadence and debauchery before Lent begins.
It all starts 12 days after Christmas and lasts until Fat Tuesday, and Fat Tuesday is always 47 days before Easter begins. So, that time is the season of carnival.
During this time families spend time together at parades, parties and gatherings. One popular item that is exchanged during the season is the king cake.
Originally known as Twelfth Night Cake, those who observe Carnival will place a small, plastic baby inside the cake. And, whoever receives the child when the cake is cut is responsible for throwing the next party.
King Cake is a delicious cinnamon roll-like dessert that is coated in purple, green and gold icing and stuffed with all kinds of deliciousness – such as cheesecake or custard. Some people will also add doubloons and pearls to help make the presentation more festive.
Luckily for everyone who lives in Oahu, the Whole Foods located on Wailea Avenue in Kahala will be carrying King Cake this Carnival season, according to the store’s general manager.
Purple, green, and gold are very important colors for Mardi Gras. Purple represents justice. Green represents faith. Gold represents power. Everything is purple, green and gold in this season.
Apart from this, a lot of parades take place during this time. Each parade is known as a Krewes. These cruises are social clubs that come together to provide memorable celebrations.
Some of the really well known crews from New Orleans are Endymion, Zulu, Rex, Bacchus and Isis, to name only a few.
Now for the more pearl-throwing statement by Mr. During these parades, crews give out all kinds of goodies to the revelers. Of course, you’ve probably heard of Mardi Gras beads. These range from really cheap, tiny, plastic beads to elaborate and decorative beads [i.e. a plastic necklace with rubber duckies attached], The bigger your pearls, the better you have done.
The Zulu have been known to throw coconuts into the crowd, and these coconuts have been known to go for hundreds of dollars on online auction sites.
Costumes are another part of Mardi Gras. Families usually dress up according to the theme of the day’s parade.
Needless to say, kids love the carnival season. Keep in mind that Bourbon Street is really the only place that doesn’t have family-friendly Mardi Gras celebrations. Carnival is all about decadence, but it’s also family-oriented.
Since Hurricane Katrina, there has been a large population that moved from New Orleans to Honolulu. But, bringing the carnival with you has been no easy task. There are no parades, and local schools do not observe Mardi Gras as a holiday.
But, the carnival is in heart and soul. It is something that stays with you no matter where you go.
The day after Mardi Gras is known as Ash Wednesday. It is the beginning of Lent when there is no decadence or debauchery.
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So, in the meantime, celebrate Carnival with a King Cake Party and Laissez Le Bon Temps Rouler, y’all!