Mardi Gras fever

Published 7:00 am Wednesday, January 20, 2016

As Mardi Gras nears, we can expect to see families throwing colorful beads off of festively decorated floats and king cakes piling up on bakery shelves. This holiday is one-of-a-kind in comparison to the other holidays celebrated across the United States.

When I moved to Picayune in 2014, I had never experienced a Mardi Gras season so I didn’t know what to expect since I was under the impression the holiday was exclusively celebrated in New Orleans.

However, I was wrong.

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The holiday is celebrated by most cities surrounding New Orleans, including Picayune. It’s amazing how much of an influence the culture of Mardi Gras—beads and all—has on Pearl River County.

My first Mardi Gras experience was trying king cake for the first time. As a fan of cinnamon and all things sweet, I tried the dessert at a local bakery and immediately fell in love with Mardi Gras.

My second Mardi Gras experience occurred when the annual Krewe of the Pearl Mardi Gras parade rolled into town. Back in my hometown in south Florida, parades are a rare sight to see so I was in complete awe when I watched all the colorful floats, roller-skaters and beads make their way down Highway 11.

My third Mardi Gras experience happened when I helped cover the Krewe of the Pearl’s masquerade ball. I remember everyone was dressed to the nines, wearing masks and beads, celebrating the season and its traditions.

Even though I’m not a local, I’ve adopted the holiday as my own and all the king cake variations that come with it.

According to the History Channel, Mardi Gras is a Christian holiday celebrated annually by large Roman Catholic populations, dating back thousands of years to fertility rites and pagan spring. It’s also celebrated before the religious season of Lent.

Mardi Gras is a fun holiday with an interesting past and I’m so glad to be experiencing it for the second time in a row.