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Dr. Giles's Blog

Reflections from Dr. C. Scot Giles, the Consulting Hypnotist and practice owner at Rev. C. Scot Giles, D.Min., LLC

Mardi Gras 2014

Charles Giles

Mardi Gras began this past week. Most people don’t realize that Mardi Gras isn’t only one day. They think of it as the parade of the Rex Krewe through the French Quarter on Fat Tuesday (March 4th this year). However, Mardi Gras is a season of parades and events that goes on for weeks before then.

Every Mardi Gras parade is run by an organization called a “krewe.” I personally support a krewe in New Orleans called the Intergalactic Krewe of Chewbacchus. It’s for science fiction fans and the floats and marchers must be themed to Star Wars, Star Trek, Dr. Who, or something similar. The motto is “Saving the Galaxy One Drunken Nerd at a Time.” It is a family friendly parade, and it is today at 8 pm. This year’s theme is "The Wrath of Khan-ival."

Mardi Gras is part of the worldwide custom of Carnival happening in many nations this time of year. This tradition goes back to ancient Rome. The priests of Apollo, concerned about declining attendance in the wake of the rising oriental mystery cults, mounted a statue of the god on a cart and paraded it through the streets of Rome to mimic the progress of the Sun through the sky. To insure a good crowd, the priests of Apollo threw jewelry and coins from the cart to the people watching, guaranteeing a popular response.

After a few years of this the priests of the other Roman cults figured out that the Apollonians were onto something good and they did likewise, competing for applause. Soon prominent merchants and politicians joined in, and the rest is history.

In Christendom, the tradition of Carnival came to serve the purpose of using up the household supply of eggs, cream, butter and other perishables that would go bad during the penitential season of Lent. That’s why Mardi Gras recipes, such as the one for the batter of traditional King Cakes, tend to be very rich.

I spend formative years in New York at a place where some Mardi Gras customs were followed and I acquired an affection for the festival there. During this season I do some Cajun Cooking and we decorate our home with the traditional colors of Mardi Gras. They are purple for justice, green for faith and gold for wealth. May all those things come into your home as well.