Mardi Gras Essay, Research Paper
The smell of stale beer in the air, loud music everywhere, people shouting and laughing having a good ole time is what carnival, better known as Mashumani is like in Guyana. When it s Mardi Gras in New Orleans, however, broken beads and trash are all over the ground, and everywhere one looks he/she sees someone taking off some type of clothing for some beads. Unlike in New Orleans people in Guyana know how to have fun with out taking off their clothes.
I am a native of Guyana, South America, and this is my first time observing Mardi Gras in person. I had heard of the things people do for the objects and trinkets that the masked riders throw off the floats, which is a major aspect that distinguishes Mardi Gras in New Orleans from carnival in Guyana. Guyanese people do not take off their clothes for a string of pearl, or a coconut. Carnival in Guyana is a one-day event, celebrating Guyana s independence from the British. On this day people dress in bright colorful costumes and dance in the street.
I remember the first time I went to the carnival. I was about seven years old when my mom took the whole family to watch the parades. I saw the brightly colored costumes, as well as everyone s body and face covered with glitter. I heard the sweet sounds of the steelband playing and people everywhere dancing in the street. The smell of sweat was in the air as everyone bunched up together to see the floats in all their brilliant glory. I can also recall the taste of sweet syrup as I licked it off the snowcone I was eating.
Mardi Gras in New Orleans, however, was a whole new experience for me. On Fat Tuesday I woke up early so I could go to Canal and St Charles Street to watch the parades. The smell of trash filled the air. Thousands of people everywhere. Broken beads, empty beer cups, and cans littered the ground. Some people had many colorful beads around their necks. People were laughing and dancing to the beats of the school bands as they passed along. When the floats got into view, I heard women saying, throw me something mister, and I saw them lifting up their shirts and showing their breasts for pearls, beads, a coconut, or a spear. I couldn t believe my eyes when I witnessed women and even men showing their goods for some colorful beads. Well as the Zulu float passed by, I like everyone else wanted one of the famous Zulu coconuts. So I stood on one of the barricades and stretched out my hand in hopes of getting one of the famous coconuts. But to my dismay, I didn t get a coconut. Instead, I got a spear from one of the Zulu warriors, and a picture of me begging for a coconut was in the newspaper the next day.
Even though everything that I might have mentioned above seems negative, I still had a ball at Mardi Gras. Enjoying Mardi Gras as a participant and an observer was very exciting for me. I noticed a lot of different things that happens at Mardi Gras and not at Mash . For example, in Guyana the parade goers have as much a part in the parade as the participant. People are always in the streets walking and dancing behind the floats. There are no barricades in the street to squish people in one place. Instead, everyone has a choice of what he/she wants to do. They can either sit on the side and watch the parades go by, or they can walk and dance behind the parades. However, police still patrol the streets to keep everyone safe, but no one is confined to one corner. Nothing is thrown from the floats either, because people just want to have fun. Carnival in Guyana therefore is all about children rather than the adults. Children are the biggest part of the floats and when a little child looks up and sees all the bright colors of red, yellow, green, and pink his/her face just lights up. He/she is just happy to be there not having a care in the world.
After having gone to Mardi Gras and having gone to carnival in Guyana, I have come to the conclusion that people just don t care what they do, or have hardly any type of respect for themselves if they are willing to strip themselves in public for a string of beads. People where I am from just have plain ole fun. They drink, party, and have fun without taking off their clothes.