In the Christian world, today is the Feast of the Epiphany (celebrated in Catholic Churches this Sunday), which means that Christmas is officially over and in various places around the world, Carnival season has begun.
Most folks think of Carnival by its more familiar term, “Mardi Gras,” and as a single day, Fat Tuesday, but it’s actually a multi-week celebration ending on Fat Tuesday. Largely a French-Catholic celebration, it roots stretch to the 17th century. But those famous Mardi Gras colors (gold, purple and green) aren’t necessarily French. They may have a Russian origin and can be traced to 1872. To honor the visiting Russian Grand Duke Alexis Romanoff, the same group of New Orleans businessmen that founded Rex (King of Carnival) supposedly introduced the Romanoff’s family colors of purple, green and gold as Carnival’s official colors. Another explanation is that the timing of the Romanoff’s visit was coincidental and that the colors were chosen to stand for justice; gold for power; and green for faith.
It’s also time for King Cakes, and I highly recommend Haydel’s Bakery in New Orleans or Poupart Bakery in Lafayette. You can order and have them shipped!
The photo is from 1967 and is by Art Kleiner. He had a 29 year career as a photographer at the State-Times and Morning Advocate in New Orleans and is known for introducing color photography to the newspaper in the 1960’s.
6Ed Greenhaw, Lisa Buford Goldsmith and 4 others