The Courir De Mardi Gras Vs Traditional City Mardi Gras [VIDEO]
As we enter into Mardi Gras weekend in South Louisiana, we often remind ourselves of the two different type Mardi Gras celebrations in Acadiana and in South Louisiana. In the smaller communities of Acadiana, the Courir De Mardi Gras is the choice of celebration when it comes to Mardi Gras celebrations. However, in the larger cities like Lafayette and New Orleans Mardi Gras does NOT resemble the Courir De Mardi Gras. If you have ever attended the two separate celebrations, you know that Mardi Gras is different in the countryside than it is in the city.In the smaller rural areas of Acadiana, Mardi Gras is celebrated on a much smaller scale. Yet, the party and the tradition of Mardi Gras lives on in places like Mamou, Eunice, Church Point, and others. The Courir De Mardi Gras celebration does NOT include marching bands or fancy floats decorated with beads and lights. Actually, in some of the smaller communities, there are no floats in the Mardi Gras parade. Parades in the smaller communities mainly consist of horseback riders, wagons and trailers, and a few select revelers in the back of pick-up trucks.
The Courir De Mardi Gras has a deep tradition in many of the rural communities. Many of the smaller communities have been celebrating this style Mardi Gras for decades and the tradition continues to be passed on every year. Some have gone as far to say that once a young man, usually around the age of 18, is able to “run Mardi Gras, it is then that he enters into manhood. In any case, the Courir De Mardi Gras consists of young men and women, and in some places just men, going through the countryside asking for ingredients to make a gumbo at the end of the run. Often those participating in the run will chase chickens and/or guineas on one’s property in hopes of catching what some have labeled the elusive “trophy.” In addition to giving chickens to those taking part in the run, property owners will often donate other items like rice, roux, or other ingredients needed for the gumbo at the end of the run.
As tradition has it, those taking part in the run are lead by the “Captain.” The captains, often dressed in the Mardi Gras colored capes, lead the run and seek permission from property owners to allow the participants on their property. Many of these type runs start as early as 6am and return to their perspective towns later that afternoon.While there may be nothing “fancy” about the Courir De Mardi Gras, it attracts thousands to south Louisiana from all corners of the globe. The tradition lives on and if you have never seen the Courir De Mardi Gras, it something that all should have on their proverbial “bucket list.”
Contrary to the countryside Mardi Gras run in the smaller communities, cities like Lafayette and New Orleans host their own form of Mardi Gras. While the traditional “City Mardi Gras” does not include chickens, horses, and revel runners though the streets, the traditional Mardi Gras parades do include marching bands and huge colorful floats loaded with riders, speakers, and BEADS!!! Each designated parade often has its own theme for the year. Parades consist of men, women, and children with Mardi Gras masks and hats on tossing beads by the thousands to those in attendance. The traditional parades in cities are lined with barricades and are host to much larger crowds.
In any case, whether you choose to attend the Courir De Mardi Gras or City Mardi Gras, one thing that you can count on is having a good time!!! Neither style celebration is a let down and you are sure to walk away with many memories. While some argue that the city style Mardi Gras is more “family friendly” those that take part in the Courir De Mardi Gras may beg to differ. Those that take part in countryside style runs say that without children understanding the meaning of then Courir De Mardi Gras, the tradition could never live-on. All that we ask and remind of during this Mardi Gras week is BE SAFE and HAVE FUN!!! Let the celebrations begin!!