Archive for January 15th, 2008

Mardi Gras and All That Jazz 1

For those that don’t know me except through my blog, let me say that I am a southern girl from South Louisiana with a direct lineage to the Cajuns and France.  This week I  would like to share some  facts about Mardi Gras.  This is a huge celebration for anyone from south Lousiana, as well as Mobile, and the Mississippi Gulf Coast.  I am also excited that Flourishes has just released its first Mardi Gras set.  It has always been hard to find Mardi Gras images, so this was an excellent opportunity to get them out there.  I have also had the wonderful experience of living in Europe and had  first hand experience of Mardi Gras there…so  I also included the words for Mardi Gras in German (Fasching) and Italian (Carnivale)  It is also celebrated in France and Spain. 12th-night-party1.jpg

Invitation to a Mardi Gras ballare always special .  This is the outside of this years invitation to our annual 12th Night Celebration.  No matter where we have lived this is a part of my culture that I share with enthusiam.

So when is 12th Night, you ask……well, it is the 12th day of Christmas or January 6th.  That’s right, the 12 days of Christmas start on Christmas day not before Christmas.  January 6th is also known as Epiphany Day..the day the 3 Kings or Magi  brought gifts to the Christ Child. In our house we save our finest gift until January 6th to exchange with each other.

What does this have to do with Mardi Gras?   The beginning of the Carnival Season is  fixed…being January 6th, which is the Feast of the Epiphany, otherwise known as Little Christmas or Twelfth Night. Since the date of actual Mardi Gras  varies from year to year, the length of the Carnival Season also varies accordingly from year-to-year. .

In French, “Mardi Gras” literally means “Fat Tuesday,” so named because it falls on the day before Ash Wednesday, the last day prior to Lent…a 40-day season of prayer and fasting observed by the Roman Catholic Church (and many other Christian denominations) which ends on Easter Sunday. The origin of “Fat Tuesday” is believed to have come from the ancient Pagan custom of parading a fat ox through the town streets. Such Pagan holidays were filled with excessive eating, drinking, and general bawdiness prior to a period of fasting. Since the modern day Carvinal Season is sandwiched between Christmas and Lent, with Christmas Day being December 25 on the Gregorian Calendar as set by the Roman Catholic Church, this means that other Holy Days are “floating” in nature. Easter always falls on a Sunday, but it can be any Sunday from March 23 through April 25, its actual date being the Sunday which follows the first Full Moon after the Spring Equinox. Mardi Gras is always 47 days prior to this alloted Sunday (the 40 days of Lent plus seven Sundays). 

In the areas of Lousiana where Mardi Gras is celebrated, 12th Night is a wonderful night.  Many of the Carnival krewes (clubs) host the first party of the season.  While most people see Mardi Gras as a gaudy occasion of Fat Tuesday, let me say that these balls are truly high fashion black tie events for those persons that are invited to any of the parties held during the season.  The 12th Night Revelers Krewe in New Orleans (since 1870) is the first carnival krewe to host a private invitation only ball.
So it is with this tradition that Mike and I have for years hosted a grand black tie party.  Mike is not from Lousiana, but it did not take much convincing to get him to share this great time with me.  We have hosted this party in every location we have lived…and it is nice to know that people actually call to make sure the party is ON for each year.  Several friends have also adopted this 12 Night Celebration.  This is the inside of this years invitation.
To Make this years invitation I used the Flourishes Mardi Gras Set as well as the Harlequin & Accessories.  The invitation is a gate fold card made from  Shimmery White paper (Flourishes ). On the front of the invitation I used a strip of water color paper and embossed the 3 crowns from the Mardi Gras set.  Each crown was embellished with a “jewel” in the colors of Mardi Gras, green, gold, and purple.  Feathers are a big part of the celebrations and also used on the face of the card.  In keeping this a “royal” invitation I used a strip of gold, purple, and green ribbon.  The invitation inside is a piece of vellum paper printed with the invitation.  The back side of the vellum was stamped with the Harlequin stamp and makes a beautiful, soft and subtle background.
Tomorrow and throughout the week I will share some more of Mardi Gras traditions, krewes, and music.  I do hope you will come back to visit and “pass a good time”.
Laissez Le Bon Temps Rouler!
jan marie

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