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88Nine Radio Milwaukee

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Mardi Gras Moments! Mardi Gras Roots pt. 1 "Courir de Mardi Gras"

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Everybody knows Mardi Gras is one of the biggest parties in the whole world. Few however, know its roots…

Mardi Gras, has country roots. That country is France; and before it became the big-city party and parade we know today, it was a springtime festival of renewal and revelry that started in the French countryside in the Middle Ages.  A feast of begging in which the poor, at the end of long winters and short on food, would gather in groups, going from castle to manor house to beg for food from the wealthy, dancing and singing in return for that generosity. 

A rare opportunity to escape the drudgery of their normal lives, the people often dressed in costume and definitely hit the bottle. It was a rare moment in those days where roles might reverse; the poor paraded as the rich and the rich might imitate the dress of the poor; their worlds, if for but a day, were flipped upside down.

Back then, the festival was called the “Courir de Mardi Gras” or “The Fat Tuesday Run” and it even had a theme song, it was called La Danse du Mardi Gras and every small town had their own version. To this day, Cajun towns in LA are more apt to do Mardi Gras in this way, and of course they still sing that song…

The Balfa Brothers "La Danse de Mardi Gras"

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Tomorrow... 12th Night, The King's Ball and King Cake Babies