New Orleans Mardi Gras Better Than Haiti Carnival
The first official Mardi Gras parade was held in New Orleans on Feb. 24, 1857 by the Krewe of Comus. However, it started on the streets of New Orleans much earlier from the late 1830's with street processions of maskers with carriages and horseback riders to celebrate Mardi Gras. Since then over 1,800 Mardi Gras parades have been staged in metro New Orleans and the festivities have grown into one of the world's grandest tourist attractions. The season of merriment begins in New Orleans each year on January 6. The traditional colors of the New Orleans Mardi Gras are purple, green, and gold with their meanings justice, faith and power respectively. It is illegal to ride on a Mardi Gras parade float in New Orleans without wearing a mask.
Kanaval (Mardi Gras) is the largest of official public celebrations started in Haiti in 1804; thereafter it started to spread to the other parts of the country. However, the official three-day celebration still continues to take place in Port-au-Prince only. In the past, Haitian Kanaval celebrations were criticized for disregarding indecent dancing, music, lyrics, mocking the government. Therefore, Kanaval is gradually becoming a more government run celebration with funding from the government, wealthy Haitian families and businessmen. But in New Orleans, although the festival generates over $1 billion in annual spending, the city government is not involved in coordinating the parades in any way; they issue permits for the parades and that is the extent of their involvement. Krewes independently schedule and coordinate their own parades. However, for safety reasons, the city authority of New Orleans has restricted the heights of the floats to a maximum of 18 feet to avoid hitting traffic lights, without restricting their lengths. Mardi Gras in Haiti would give you a glimpse of Haitian culture and creativity with the display of parades, float bands marching and music with children's participation. Each year, Haiti explodes in color and sound during the annual Mardi Gras festivities.
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