Tuesday, March 8, 2011
Wearing masks bearing images of skeletons and Christian icons is a vital part of Mardi Gras in the city of
. This pre-Lenten festival is framed by the donning of original masks worn by people at masked balls, crew members in parades, tourists and partakers in the final crescendo known as Fat Tuesday. New Orleans
This is a time when individuals hide behind masks to play out the final moments of fun and to bid farewell to the flesh before the penitence of Lent begins.
Masks have always possessed a certain air of mystery that has fascinated people for centuries. According to legend, masks were worn by ancient Greek actors in honor of Dionysus, god of theater and were quite large. Because the structures used to represent the plays were so colossal, masks bore exaggerated expressions in order to convey various emotions.
The traditional colors of Mardi Gras are purple symbolic of justice, green symbolic of faith and gold symbolic of power and are used to decorate carnival masks.