Mardi Gras parade in Havre de Grace; French Club goes out to celebrate

Sarah Welzant, Reporter

     Havre de Grace hosted a parade to celebrate Mardi Gras. This took place on Feb. 21 from 6-7pm and went through Bourbon Street, turning on Washington Street and ending at the American Legion on St. John Street.

     Mardi Gras is celebrated often in France, and the name comes from French words ‘Mardi’ – meaning Tuesday – and “gras” – meaning fat. The holiday is referred to as ‘Fat Tuesday’ since people would binge on all the fatty foods within their household in preparation for Lent, where they would do a lot of fasting. France refers to the festivities as ‘Carnival and often lasts for a week or two.  

     French teacher Mrs. Larissa Arist brought members of French Club to this parade. She states, “It’s a super fun, short parade. It’s great because they have floats that come down and people throw beads and little trinkets, which is a big thing about Mardi Gras celebrations. There were also some bands and music playing as people came down”. In general, she believes filled with energy and a great place to have fun.

     Junior French exchange student Baptiste Chone was one of the students who came along to the parade. Chone had a lot of fun going and thought it was interesting seeing all the floats and festivities. He states, “there wasn’t a specific [float] that stuck out to me, but the whole group was really fun to watch.”

     The Havre de Grace parade is similar to the one that they host down in New Orleans, Louisiana. Arist states, “The New Orleans Mardi Gras parade obviously has a French history to it, because the French colonized that area first and brought their traditions.”

     Nice, France, holds the biggest Carnival, where it is one of its most popular events. Arist explains, “They have huge parades, different themes every year, as well as a flower parade. It’s a little different in that way – they don’t follow that New Orleans style that has green, purple, and gold colors.”

     Not all parts of France throw huge celebrations. Chone explains, “in France, it really depends on the regions we live in,” and that he doesn’t really celebrate since it’s “not really a big thing” in his region.

     Arist only found out about the parade in Havre de Grace a few years ago and tells students about it. She states, “It’s an opportunity that’s there for anyone in the community to go to at any time, so we don’t really organize a bus. But, it’s a fun opportunity if you want to go and check it out next year.”