A Brief History of Mardi Gras

mardi gras
Irwin Thompson / Dallas Morning News / Corbis

Light My Fire
Nighttime Mardi Gras parades feature flame-wielding "flambeaux carriers," who harken back to days when streets were not as well-lit. Interspersed between the elaborate parade floats, which are now themselves brightly lit, the flambeaux carriers spin, twirl and dip their bodies — all while keeping their torches aflame. Most carriers were initially slaves and free African Americans, and the tradition of tossing them coins continues to this day.

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