This year it's celebrated on February 21.
From the traditional colors of purple, green,and gold symbolizing justice, faith and power to the music that created a whole new genre, Mardi Gras has been a long running tradition not just in New Orleans but around the world.
There are many different opinions about when and how Mardi Gras started which include French explorer Sieur d'Jbervilled introducing it when he landed onto what is now Louisiana. Others believe that it was not celebrated until 1703 when French soldiers brought it to Alabama. We do know however that in the 1820's, New Orleans culture was indefinitely shaped by Mardi Gras and its traditions.
New Orleans is considered to be the birthplace of the Jazz genre. Jazz music in its earliest form, known as Dixieland as well as New Orleans jazz, did not become popular until the mid and late 1910's. Due to New Orleans being the only place where slaves could own drums, they took advantage of being able to play, dance and celebrate without restraints and began the creation of New Orleans Jazz and parades such as the ones we see during Mardi Gras.
While Jazz was a huge influence in the New Orleans culture, when it comes to the Mardi Gras music, it was actually originated from Mardi Gras Indians. Their most important song, "Indian Red" was actually a prayer sung the morning of Mardi Gras by the Chief.
With Mardi Gras festivities approaching and travel costs only getting more expensive, there are ways to share in the Mardi Gras festivities here in the San Francisco Bay Area. Here’s one event that is both fun and intimate:
Due Zighi Baci (Two Gypsy Kisses) performs a Nawlins style soirée
February 24th, 7PM
Aqus Café (189 H Street), Petaluma.