When you close your eyes and think of Mardi Gras, what do you envision? Perhaps the glamorous parades splitting the crowded streets as beads, trinkets, and doubloons are tossed from adorned participants on floats. Maybe you see the colors of purple, green and gold which signify justice, faith, and power. Some may view something dark or supernatural with images of voodoo, zombification and Papa Legba. Movies and TV shows such as Tremé, True Detective, and James Bond’s “Live and Let Die” have depicted both sides of the light-hearted and darkness of Mardi Gras.
Here in North America, we celebrate the rise of the New Year by staying up til midnight in our respective time zones to watch a lit shiny ball or, in one case, a Moon Pie drop from the sky. As the crowds' countdown to “1”, projectiles are shot in the air with the spectacle of colorful booming fireworks bursting against the black canvas of the midnight sky. The much-celebrated fireworks were first developed in Medieval China, which leads us to the topic of the Chinese New Year. February 4th sparks the celebration with reunion dinners with emphasis on creating thoughtful dishes to celebrate ancestors, much akin to how Southern families gather. 2019 celebrates the Year of the Pig with the distinction of the Earthly branch.
It is noted in some myths that the Jade Emperor held a race to an...