It’s January in the city of New Orleans and that can only mean one thing: the start of Mardi Gras celebrations! Twelfth Night and Mardi Gras are both deeply rooted cultural events in the city as
Twelfth Night marks the start of the celebration of Carnival season, which is traditionally observed from the Epiphany on January 6th The season then runs for about four to eight weeks and culminates with Mardi Gras (also known as Fat Tuesday) being celebrated on the Tuesday before Ash Wednesday.
The Joan of Arc parade through the French Quarter is the first parade of the season. For locals the season is a time to celebrate with huge feasts, lively music and celebrations that honor the history and culture of the city.
Everyone has their favorite day of the season. Mine is always the Friday before Mardi Gras. We always start out at the Royal Sonesta for greasing of the poles, then move on to Mardi Gras, lunch with our friends, and then usually end up dancing in the street in front of Toulouse theater, where we see everyone we’ve ever met. The most iconic celebration of the season is, of course, Mardi Gras day where people either split into uptown or downtown activities. Our favorite downtown activity is to follow the procession of the Saint Anne’s parade. It’s a highly local parade and you will see some of the best costumes you’ve ever seen. We work our way from the Marney to the French Quarter and most locals are in bed by sundown.
From the outside, New Orleans is known worldwide for its vibrant Mardi Gras celebrations, which include parades and floats, street parties, and masked revelers who are quick to hand out Beads and other trinkets to passers-by. The traditional colors of Mardi Gras are purple, gold, and green and they all come together to create an electric atmosphere unlike any other with the Rex and Zulu parades on Tuesday morning.
When it comes to celebrating Twelfth Night and Mardi Gras in New Orleans, the key is to embrace the spirit of the season and let yourself get swept away by the festivities. From indulging in delicious King Cakes to dancing the night away in the French Quarter, there’s no wrong way to enjoy the unique celebrations that this spectacular city has to offer.