Sunday, February 22, 2009

Mardi Gras Run

Cajuns and Creoles on French Louisiana’s rural prairies traditionally celebrate the last day before Lent by "running" Mardi Gras. Early on Mardi Gras morning—or in some cases on the Saturday or Sunday before—bands of disguised riders on horses or trailers set out to scour the countryside. Stopping at homes along the way, they sing, dance, clown, and coax hosts into donating "a little fat chicken," sausage links, onions, rice, or lard. Unmasked capitaines make sure the rowdy beggars (known as les Mardi Gras) behave themselves, reassuring homeowners that—despite all appearances—the mischievous visitors are not dangerous strangers, thieves, or troublemakers. In reality, their mission is to collect ingredients for a gros (big) gumbo, a meal they share with the community later that evening.

The country courir de Mardi Gras, or Mardi Gras run, belongs to an ancient tradition of masked begging processions—sometimes called midwinter "luck visits"—once widespread in Europe. As these customs spread to Nova Scotia, Newfoundland, the Caribbean, and parts of the United States, they remained dynamic by adapting to new surroundings and changing times. By the middle of the 20th century, many Cajuns in French Louisiana had lost interest in running Mardi Gras (and Cajun culture in general) in a shift toward Americanization. The last two decades or so, though, have seen a revitalization of the country Mardi Gras celebration. Each year, more than a dozen rural Cajun communities, and several Creole communities, hold Mardi Gras runs that include anywhere from fifteen to hundreds of riders.

Information from: Country Mardi Gras Tradition

Quite a few people have asked me what Mudbugs/Crawfish are. I have read that the crawfish is a first cousin to the lobster. Personally I think the two of them taste an awful lot like. Since Crawfish are so much smaller than a lobster, it takes more crawfish to make a meal. "Louisiana Crawfish Boil" is the web site to check out for information on crawfish. This site will provide you with just about everything you might want to know about crawfish. It even explains how to eat crawfish. I eat them the Yankee way by picking the meat out of the shell and not by sucking it.

Have a great weekend........


Mike Golch said...

Great Post! I hope that you are having a great weekend!

Diane@Diane's Place said...

I'm with you, Jo - I pick the meat out of the crawdads. I don't suck the heads either. Yuck!

Hope you're having a great weekend, my friend. :o)

Love and hugs,


farmlady said...

I have not had any experience with these little crawdads or mudbugs. That's California for you.

Love all the Mardi Gras info!