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Mardi Gras Masks: Behind the Costumes

The allure of Mardi Gras is all about being something or someone else. The infamous Fat Tuesday even hides behind another name! Whether you find yourself hanging on Bourbon Street or following in the steps of a Krewe, Mardi Gras is about releasing your alter-ego. That custom holds through a long history of Mardi Gras masks and costumes.

With a tradition going back over 300 years, the annual Mardi Gras party has some well established rituals. Even the naughtier “girls flashing for beads” custom is nothing really new; city elders railed against the ‘debauchery’ even in the 1890s. That 300-year history includes a proud tradition of intricate Mardi Gras costumes that go beyond the sinful and into the truly artistic.

One of the most colorful Mardi Gras traditions is the tradition of wearing wonderfully designed and way over-the-top masks. In fact, the tradition of wearing a mask during Mardi Gras started with the New Orleans’ High Society’s great Masked Balls. Back in the early 1700’s, under French rule, New Orleans’ elite often had fancy masked balls to celebrate the tradition of Mardi Gras which had been celebrated in France for many years. Later, under Spanish rule, the masks were outlawed, but finally, in the 1850’s, Americans re-established the practice and the elite began to have large masked balls again.

Soon, the balls spilled out into the streets and added floats and parades. Originally meant to mock the elite, those holding less lofty social positions began to parade behind, wearing their own masks for fun. Eventually the whole thing turned into a Fat Tuesday tradition of putting up decorations, wearing masks, parading, and enjoying all life’s excesses for the few weeks before Lent.

The Power of Wearing a Mask

It’s amazing, the power of a mask! While behind one, suddenly the everyday expectations of behavior vanish and your inhibitions can be left behind. It’s all about the possibilities! So who do you want to be? Elegant and alluring? Royalty or Jester? Take a look at some of the possibilities:

Lovely couple’s masks are available so that you can dress up and play the part together. While masks are available in every
color combination are available, the official Mardi Gras colors are purple, gold, and green.

Can’t make it to New Orleans? Throw your own party! Invite your friends to come in costume, break out the king cake (you can order it online or make it yourself), food, drink, beads and music and enjoy a week of fun and mystique.

Click "GO" below to find these adult costumes!

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