Beyond Fat Tuesday, we enjoy the Mardi Gras Indian festivities for not only the soul they bring out, but the past they remind of us, going back to West Africa and even into Antebellum times. In the contemporary context, it all represents freedom of expression and freedom to let loose and showcase your inner self. And really, that’s what New Orleans is all about.
About the Mardi Gras Indians
The Mardi Gras Indian tradition date back to the early 1700s. According to Chief Shaka Zulu of the Yellow Pocahontas Tribe, runaway slaves were taken in and protected by indigenous people of the Louisiana area. There’s been a unique bond ever since—there are roughly 40 Mardi Gras Indian tribes throughout the city, each with their unique style. The Super Sunday tradition dates back to 1969 when the first meetup was scheduled at night for different groups to meet and show off their suits. The following year, the celebration was switched to the daytime so that spectators could take in all of the beauty of the suits.
A Most “Super” Sunday
Witnessing the Crescent City’s version of Super Sunday—completely different from football watching at home—can best be described as totally and thoroughly unique to New Orleans. Falling on the Sunday closest to St. Joseph’s Day, all of the different Mardi Gras Indian tribes from the city will march and meet, led by their respective Big Chiefs, and compete in dance, chant, and other rituals. They’re also joined by some of the city’s top brass band and social and aid pleasure clubs. The parade is followed by a festival full of live music, children’s activities, food, and more. It truly is an experience that reverberates through the soul.
The festivities, which start and the end at A.L. Davis Park, draw big crowds of followers, all participating in their own ways while enjoying the processions. The hand-sewn bead and feather-covered suits, worn only twice a year and weighing up to over 100 pounds in some cases, are composed and redesigned every year. Every year brings a competitive spirit to see who can best show the soul of the city through a needle, a good amount of thread, and some dedication.
Come One, Come All!
Through Joieful, you can plan a visit that will incorporate some of the best events we have to offer. The more visitors we help see and feel an experience like Super Sunday, the more the stories will be shared, from generation to generation. If you can’t make it for Super Sunday, you can always visit The Mardi Gras Museum of Costume and Culture where some select Mardi Gras Indian suits are held.
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