Laissez les bon temps roulez translated to English simply means to let the good times roll. This saying is the epitome of the Mardi Gras holiday season. As a native Louisianan, Mardi Gras was a very important part of my upbringing. I spent most of my Mardi Gras catching beads, being in parades, and most importantly, being off from school. I know, crazy, right? Mardi Gras is a time of family bonding, fun times, and splurging.
Mardi Gras Defined:
Mardi Gras, meaning “Fat Tuesday” in French, has its origins in medieval Europe. It became a legal holiday in Louisiana in 1875 and began as a Christian holiday with roots dating back to ancient Rome. The Carnival season was a kick-off to Lent, a sort of last hurrah before 40 days of penance sandwiched between Ash Wednesday and Easter Sunday.
Mardi Gras in Louisiana:
Mardi in Louisiana is HUGE! There are parades that happen every weekend, parties every night, and just plain non-stop fun. Although the big Mardi Gras celebration happens in New Orleans, my family usually keeps it locaL. We typically go the parades in Alexandria and Lafayette. Whether you want to make Mardi Gras a family gathering, or make it a fun time with friends, Louisiana truly has all of the options.
Mardi Gras at Hopkins:
Thanks to the HOP (Hopkins Organization for Programming), I was able to bring Mardi Gras to the Homewood Campus! I spent countless hours calling in search of southern food, music, and decorations. After weeks of planning, and an almost horrific beginning to my event, it went pretty well. People had fun, ate food, and and got a good taste of the Mardi Gras spirit, even though the ground was covered in snow and the temperature was in the teens.
I think the main lesson I’ve learned after bringing Mardi Gras to Homewood is that students need an avenue to relax. As college students, we constantly stress about social, emotional, and mostly, academic shortcomings. If Mardi Gras and Louisiana have taught me one thing, it’s that in time of stress of worry, you just need to “Laissez Les Bon Temps Roulez.”