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Students travel to Mardi Gras

| Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Mardi Gras is traditionally celebrated the Tuesday before Lent begins on Ash Wednesday. However, some Notre Dame students celebrated early by traveling to New Orleans last weekend to participate in the festivities.
“Something that many people don’t realize is that Mardi Gras Day actually marks the end of weeks of celebration. The season officially starts on Jan. 6, ‘The Feast of the Epiphany,’” Elizabeth Owers, a senior from New Orleans, said. “The timing can vary depending on the length of the season, but generally the balls will be held during January, and most parades happen the two weeks before Mardi Gras.”
Mariana Tumminello, a freshman from New Orleans, returned to New Orleans a few weekends ago for the ball of the Krewe of Janus. She said a krewe is an organization that puts on a ball and/or parade for the carnival season. Tumminello was Queen of the Ball, a position that she was put up for when she was five years old, she said.
“This year, three of my friends from New Orleans came home for the ball with me. One of them, Courtney Denault, was a maid in my court. I also was able to bring four friends [from Notre Dame] back with me so they could come to the ball and experience a little bit of Mardi Gras,” Tumminello said.
Tumminello said her favorite traditions included king cake, parades and watching the tourists.
“Every year my entire family comes in town and we stay at a hotel downtown so we can go walk around the French Quarter and all be together, while my dad and my uncles ride in a parade called Hermes,” Tumminello said.
Although Tumminello and Owers were not able to return home for the actual holiday of Mardi Gras, Tumminello said she plans to wear her purple, green and gold shirt and beads on Tuesday to connect with the celebration at home.
“When you are not in New Orleans, it is very different. Tourists think Mardi Gras is a crazy drunk party … but it’s actually a very family-oriented event,” she said. “I’ve grown up going to parades with family, going to Mardi Gras parties with friends and just enjoying one of the most exciting times in my hometown.”
Owers also said Mardi Gras is misrepresented as a holiday.
“The images of drunken debauchery on Bourbon Street are not at all representative of most parades – they’re loud and crowded, but they’re a lot of fun and many areas are family friendly,” she said. “I loved being able to march and dance down the parade route, see my friends and family, and be part of such a unique tradition.
“At its core, Mardi Gras is a community event that brings people together and allows them to spend a few days just celebrating life.”

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About Kayla Mullen

Kayla is a senior political science major and the Managing Editor of The Observer. She hails from Philadelphia, PA and was previously a resident of Howard Hall.

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