January 6. For most people that simply is ‘January 6’ or ‘Friday’ in 2017. But for us, it marked the beginning of the new Carnival season, and so Mardi Gras is around the corner! This year, New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu officially opened this fun and hectic season, which at Kern Studios is also the busiest time of year: for Mardi Gras 2017 alone, we’ve prepared over 450 floats…
Although many people think that Mardi Gras consists of one big parade on a single day, Mardi Gras itself –French for ‘Fat Tuesday’- is actually the very last day of a whole Carnival season.
The whole tradition of Carnival was actually started by the Catholic Church, who allowed people to have one last very merry good time before the Season of Lent started on Ash Wednesday. It was decided that January 6 –or ‘King’s Day’ marked the first day of Carnival, which literally means ‘farewell to flesh’. As such, the Church also established the fluctuating date for Mardi Gras: it is always 47 days before Easter.
During the Carnival Season in the greater New Orleans area, no less than 70 parades in very different shapes and sizes take place. Kern Studios designs and builds 20 of them, making up for 70% of all the floats on parade in Orleans parish. Needless to say, the ‘Kern’ parades are mainly the larger ones, including those from Rex, Zulu, Muses, Tucks, Femme Fatale and the parades of the so-called ‘Super Krewes’ Endymion, Bacchus and Orpheus.
New Orleans, January 2017