Iain Cormack, Wellbeing Officer in SHAC, has kindly written of his recent experience of celebrating his first Mardi Gras in Orlando. Thank you to Iain for his contribution – what an experience and a visual treat!
Mardi Gras (or Fat Tuesday as it translates from French) is a colourful and worldwide carnival celebration which traditionally begins around, on or just after Three Kings Day, and runs until Shrove Tuesday (or the end of April, if you visit the one I did at Universal Orlando Resort!).
Most people will likely associate Mardi Gras with New Orleans, Louisiana, but it exists in various guises in different countries – in Belgium (as Carnival of Binche), in Czech Republic (as Masopust), in Germany (with many differing names!) and in Italy (as Martedì Grasso). Characterised by the use of extravagant costumes and masks, often green, gold, purple and many other colours, Mardi Gras (these days at least) is a high-energy festival of celebration, good food, parade floats, music and bead throwing! In Louisiana Mardi Gras isn’t complete without plentiful Gumbo, Jambalaya and Beignets.
I was fortunate enough to experience Mardi Gras for the first time this year, at Universal Studios Orlando, where they go all out from early-Feb to late-April to bring the festivities to guests in Florida. Every evening there is a 12-float parade accompanied by music, stilt walkers, and dancers. One of the incredible opportunities they offer to guests is the opportunity to ride one of these floats and be a part of the parade itself, throwing multi-coloured beads into the wild crowd of revellers along the parade route.
A truly unforgettable, and magical experience!
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