MARDI GRAS: Traditions

All last year we invited you to tell us about the ways that you celebrate the seasons of your year. Well, today we’ll join one of our listeners for a behind the scenes visit to one of America’s most infamous celebrations – Mardi Gras. I’m Jim Metzner, and this is the Pulse of the Planet, presented by DuPont.

“Our parade is what we call here in New Orleans, First Saturday. Mardi Gras is always the Tuesday before Ash Wednesday. There are parades for two weeks leading up to Mardi Gras day. Our parade is always two Saturdays before Mardi Gras day.”

Dr. Dave Mulnick is an officer in the Mardi Gras krewe known as the Knights of Sparta.

“We have a court chosen each year. King, Queen, Maids and Dukes of the Royal court. Our King rides on a float that is drawn by four mules. In the late 1800’s and early 1900’s before they had tractors to pull the floats, they used to borrow the mules that pulled the sanitation trucks and put white covers on them and the parades were pulled by mules. We have that pulling our King’s float to pay homage to that tradition. We have the traditional flambeau. A flambeau is a kerosene fueled torch that has two or four jets on it. Before the advent of electricity the only way you could light up the floats for a night parade was to use the flambeau and the gentlemen carry the flambeau and dance wildly around. The crowd usually throws them coins to thank them for their cavorting. We have that element in our parade. Again, a throwback to the traditional days of Mardi Gras.”

Pulse of the Planet is presented by DuPont, bringing you the miracles of science, with additional support provided by the National Endowment for the Humanities. I’m Jim Metzner.

MARDI GRAS: Traditions

Join one of our listeners for a behind the scenes glimpse of an infamous southern celebration.
Air Date:03/06/2000
Scientist:
Transcript:

All last year we invited you to tell us about the ways that you celebrate the seasons of your year. Well, today we'll join one of our listeners for a behind the scenes visit to one of America's most infamous celebrations - Mardi Gras. I'm Jim Metzner, and this is the Pulse of the Planet, presented by DuPont.

"Our parade is what we call here in New Orleans, First Saturday. Mardi Gras is always the Tuesday before Ash Wednesday. There are parades for two weeks leading up to Mardi Gras day. Our parade is always two Saturdays before Mardi Gras day."

Dr. Dave Mulnick is an officer in the Mardi Gras krewe known as the Knights of Sparta.

"We have a court chosen each year. King, Queen, Maids and Dukes of the Royal court. Our King rides on a float that is drawn by four mules. In the late 1800's and early 1900's before they had tractors to pull the floats, they used to borrow the mules that pulled the sanitation trucks and put white covers on them and the parades were pulled by mules. We have that pulling our King's float to pay homage to that tradition. We have the traditional flambeau. A flambeau is a kerosene fueled torch that has two or four jets on it. Before the advent of electricity the only way you could light up the floats for a night parade was to use the flambeau and the gentlemen carry the flambeau and dance wildly around. The crowd usually throws them coins to thank them for their cavorting. We have that element in our parade. Again, a throwback to the traditional days of Mardi Gras."

Pulse of the Planet is presented by DuPont, bringing you the miracles of science, with additional support provided by the National Endowment for the Humanities. I'm Jim Metzner.