The History of Mardi Gras: More Than Just Colorful Beads

Mardi Gras MaskMardi Gras is primarily thought of as a time to party and get crazy in New Orleans. The holiday conjures up images of huge parties on Bourbon Street, strewn with purple, yellow, and green beads. There’s more to this holiday than drinks, parades, and creative masks. Translated from French to “Fat Tuesday” in English, Mardi Gras is based on history and traditions, both old and new. Here are a few things to know about this holiday before you go crazy with your parties this evening!

Fat Tuesday and Ash Wednesday

As many people know, Ash Wednesday is a religious day that recognizes the first day of the forty days of Lent. Lent is traditionally a time to abstain, as Catholics don’t eat meat on Fridays during Lent, and many people of Christianity give up sweets, chocolate, bread, or other treats. Fat Tuesday is the day many people get their fill of the soon-to-be forbidden treats, and in the U.K. this day is sometimes called Pancake Day. (Might we suggest a tool for that?) Others choose to confess their sins on the day before Ash Wednesday, which is why it is sometimes called “Shrove Tuesday.” (From the word shrive, which means to confess.) This last chance for outrageous behavior is contributes to the crazy partying of Mardi Gras.

Celebrate in style with traditional Mardi Gras treats and New Orleans cuisine:

Mistick Krewe

The Roman Catholic Creole community put on the original carnival celebrations, but the parades were poorly organized, and primarily confined to the Catholic Creole community. In 1856, business owners of New Orleans got together to create the Mistick Krewe of Comus, which put on highly organized, and sometimes-elegant celebrations for carnival season. Legend has it that the invitations to Comus festivities, including the ball, were highly guarded secrets, and may have contributed to the tradition of wearing masks at the Mardi Gras parades.

Colorful Beads

The story behind the colorful beads all started with Rex, the King of the first carnival in 1872. He chose the royal colors for the celebration (legend has it that he was actually Russian royalty), with purple representing justice, green for faith, and gold for power. Apparently the idea was for people on parades to throw the beads to those who resembled these traits. The original beads were made of glass, which wasn’t very conducive to throwing, but today’s loot consists of plastic beads and coins in varying colors. Green, purple, and gold are still essential to Mardi Gras celebrations.

Mardi Gras Masks

What Mardi Gras celebration would be complete without colorful and creative masks? Masks offered individuals the opportunity to truly enjoy themselves without class constraints; for a couple of days they could be whoever they wanted to be. The tradition continues today, and all who attend the parades show up in highly decorated masks.

Torch Throwers

Finally, you might notice very talented flamethrowers leading the parade floats, which you might consider a more modern addition. However, those traditional torches were simply a way to light the streets so the revelers could enjoy the parades and festivities after dark. Attendees would often throw coins to the torchbearers in appreciation.

Happy National Pet Memorial Day

Today is a happy day to remember all of your beloved pets. Take the day to share those great childhood memories of the family pets. It’s always great to remember the happy times we have we have had throughout the years.

Here are some great tips about celebrating this date. Thank you goes out to this great article I found below:

(http://voices.yahoo.com/national-pet-memorial-day-time-remember-our-deceased-6771708.html)

Tips for Celebrating National Pet Memorial Day

Reflect on your pet’s life – Think about your pets that have passed away and share your memories with family members. Why were these pets so special? You just might dig up old memories that have been long forgotten.

Look up old photographs – Do you have pictures of your deceased pets? Look through old photo albums and, if you have enough pictures, put them together in a memory scrapbook of your pet. If you even have one picture, frame it and keep the memory where it will be viewed often.

Donate to a local charity – Your town probably has a shelter or animal rescue; donate money to your favorite local charity in your pet’s memory or volunteer your time there. Every little bit makes a difference. Or if you are ready for a new pet, perhaps you will consider adopting one of these homeless animals and providing hope with a new life.

Check out Lakeside Collections Pet Memorial pieces to celebrate and remember.

We’re Not in Kansas Anymore

Tomorrow (August 25) marks the 73rd anniversary of the US opening of one of the most beloved movies of all time, “The Wizard of Oz.”  This film centers around Dorothy, Scarecrow, the Tin Man and the Cowardly Lion making their way down a yellow brick road in pursuit of the Emerald City.

The storyline has been told and retold with different variations and subplots. Everything from the Broadway sensation “Wicked” to the critically acclaimed “The Wiz” has told taken a slightly different vantage point on this classic tale. The most recent installment of “Wizard of Oz” related storylines is “Oz The Great and Powerful.” This film, (which is due out in 2013) is a prequel to “The Wonderful Wizard of Oz” and focuses on how the Wizard came to be in Oz. Here is the trailer:

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DsfY6aXDFbU]

Though the story (and variations) has been told many times, many still view the 1939 “The Wizard of Oz” movie as the best telling of this great tale.

Rock ‘N Roll Wednesday

We recently posted how Lakeside is all about Peace, Love, and Rock ‘N Roll this summer. It seemed fitting to pay tribute to one of the ultimate rock ‘n roll anniversaries today, the August 15, 1969 Woodstock festival opening in Bethel, New York. Here is some interesting Woodstock trivia courtesy of dailymail.co.uk.

- The dove perched on a guitar neck in the famous poster announcing ‘Three Days of Peace and Music’ is really a catbird, an American perching bird known for its catlike calls

- About two dozen ticket booths should have been in place to charge $24 admission, but they were never installed because of the crush of festival-goers. Attempts to get people to pay were abandoned on day one, the fences were torn down and Woodstock was declared a free event.

- The performance of The Star-Spangled Banner by Jimi Hendrix that closed Woodstock was described by the rock critic from the New York Post as ‘the single greatest moment of the Sixties’. Yet it was witnessed by just a fraction of the crowd. Most had gone home by the time Hendrix came on stage, at 9am on a Monday morning.

Sweet (and Healthy) Summer Snacks

Today we are featuring some delicious and healthy recipes that will cool you down this first weekend in August.  The below ideas are especially great alternatives to sugary popsicles and ice cream.  These recipes are by Mary Saph Tanaka, MD, MS originally posted on acefitness.org.

Cool Cucumber Con Chili Limon

- 1 English cucumber

- ½ lemon

- 1-2 tsp. chili powder

- 1 tsp. salt

Cut the cucumber into 1/8 inch slices. Squeeze lemon over the cucumber slices, and then sprinkle with salt and chili powder.

Apricot Yogurt Bites

- 4 ripe apricots

- ½ cup low-fat vanilla yogurt

- ¼ cup fresh blueberries (or dried fruit – blueberries, cranberries or cherries)

Slice each apricot in half, removing the seed from the middle. Place apricot halves on a plate with the pit side facing up. Spoon about 1 TBS of yogurt into the pitted area of the apricot half and repeat until all apricot halves are full. Lastly, top the yogurt with one blueberry (or whichever berry you choose) and serve.

Let the Games Begin

The Olympics are upon us. While the Games have technically already started with soccer, the London 2012 Opening Ceremony takes place today. As you settle-in for 5,535 hours of TV coverage across several channels, here is some interesting trivia you can share with friends and family.  The below trivia is from topendsports.com

- When London hosts the Olympic Games in 2012, the city will become the first to host the Games three times:1908, 1948 and 2012.

- Greece is the only nation to have participated under its own flag in all modern summer Olympic Games.

- The only Olympian ever to be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize was Philip Noel-Baker of Great Britain, who won the silver in the 1500-meter dash in 1920.

- At the first modern Olympic Games in Athens in 1896, silver medals were awarded to the winners and bronze to the second place getters.

- More athletes than spectators attended the 1900 Paris Olympic Games.

- Oscar Swahn became the oldest gold medalist when he won gold at 64 years and 280 days old in 1912

Merry Leon Day!

 

Merry Leon Day everyone!  Leon Day is just another way to say TODAY is the halfway mark to Christmas.  ’Leon’ actually comes from spelling Noel backwards!  Though technically an unofficial holiday, it is an important benchmark indicating that the Christmas countdown is on.  We recommend starting that countdown by enjoying the warm weather with friends & family (eggnog optional).

 

Pinterest Update

Have you recently checked out the Lakeside Collection’s Pinterest page?  If not you are missing out on some awesome new boards, cool content, and even some great new Lakeside products.  We are constantly updating our Pinterest account with new boards, pins, repins and great finds.  Here is a sampling of our 3 latest boards, but you can see all our content by searching our name LakesideCollect.

Welcome Summer!

Yesterday, 7:09pm EDT marked the official start of summer!  Whether you are melting in a heat wave (Midwest & Northeast), or enjoying a nice cool breeze with your feet in the sand, happy first day of summer!  Below are some fun facts about the 2012 summer solstice (these facts are from kirotv.com picture from bbc.co.uk)

- Wednesday, the first day of summer, was the longest day of the year at 15 hours, 59 minutes, and 21 seconds
- Wednesday was three seconds longer than Tuesday
- Today (Thursday) will be one second shorter than yesterday