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One item on many Bucket Lists is to experience Mardi Gras in New Orleans. Thanks to the hospitality of my lifelong friend, this year I had the chance to do exactly that. What I’ve compiled here are my top tips for a first-time Mardi Gras attender to help you have a fun, memorable, and sane experience.
This is a lengthy post, so if you’d like to jump ahead use these links:
- Be Strategic
- Be Considerate
- Take It Easy
Before we jump in, here’s some crucial lingo:
- Krewe: A purposeful misspelling of “crewe” coined in the mid-1800s as an archaic affectation (fake old-sounding word). Krewes lead parades throughout the Mardi Gras season. Some parades consist of multiple small Sub-Krewes (Krewe Delusion, The Intergalactic Krewe of Chewbacchus) but most run their own independant parades.
- Reveler: A person who has paid to gain membership to a Krewe and is therefore required to participate in the parade. Revelers are all required to wear masks — some resemble those worn by French clergy and some are classic masquerade masks).
- Royalty: Krewe members who have made particularly large contributions and therefore ride on individual floats at the beginning of the parade. Some parades have only a King/Queen and some have Dukes, Duchesses, Paiges, Maids, and more.
- Throw: Items thrown by revelers to parade goers. Typical throws include classic Mardi Gras beads, Krewe-themed beads, medallions, doubloons, plastic cups, and special hand-decorated throws.
- Ball: Krewes throw exclusive parties after their parades where attendees are able to see the floats go by in a special location and are sometimes treated to a concert by the parade’s celebrity marshall. Tickets to these parties are hard to come by and can climb upwards of $500.
Continue reading “5 Tips for a Memorable Mardi Gras”
Many descriptions of the history of tattooing describe the line and dot tattoos present on Ötzi, the Ice Man, and then jump ahead to the Western world in the 1800s. They skip thousands of years of history! I can’t possibly hope to cover all of these years in this one post, but I am going to present an overview of where tattooing has been recorded. The other generalization there is to be made about histories of tattooing is that women are largely left out. I want to highlight the history of women in tattooing, as I think it is fascinating and vital to understand the evolution of the art of tattoo. That being said, I do not intend to highlight women’s tattoo art to the exclusion of other important movements and figures.
One of the innate qualities of the art of tattooing is its impermanence. People comment often on the permanence of tattoos, but this permanence is relative. Tattoos are observable only as long as the person wearing them is alive. From this perspective, tattoo is the least permanent art form. Until the invention of the camera, tattoo art could be recorded only in drawings done by others. Several civilizations have preserved tattooing from ancient times to modern ones, and others found ways to mummify bodies in bogs or tombs allowing modern humans to see ancient tattooing. All of the information I provide in this post should be taken with the consideration in mind that some of what we think we know may be completely wrong because of the impermanent quality of historical tattooing.
It’s important to note also that some of the nations and people I discuss are still very much alive today, as are their tattoo traditions. I present them in the section titled Ancient Tattooing because their traditions date back to ancient times.
Continue reading “Ancient & Medieval Women’s Tattoo Art”