Mardi Gras (Fat Tuesday) falls on Feb. 16 this year. Since Mardi Gras is a Christian holiday starting with Epiphany on Jan. 6, and ringing in the eve of Ash Wednesday on Feb. 17, it can’t just be canceled. Started as a pagan celebration of spring and fertility thousands of years ago, Christian leaders decided to accept the tradition rather than forbid it. The death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus took place after the Jewish celebration of Passover, so it was decided early on by the Catholic Church at the Council of Nicaea in 325 AD, that Easter (April 4 this year) would always be after Passover. Jewish holidays are based on solar and lunar cycles, so the dates vary from year to year.
Think Mardi Gras or Carnival and it brings to mind New Orleans, food, parades, beads, partying, music, dancing, costumes, and masks. Much of this celebration in New Orleans has been downsized, canceled, or postponed due to COVID. Although parades in Orleans and St. Tammany Parish have been canceled, a few krewes may be holding events. They are still looking for ways to celebrate the carnival season in a safe manner without large crowds.
The Arizona Classic Jazz Society will celebrate Mardi Gras-style on Sunday, Feb. 21, at the Crowne Plaza Phoenix-Chandler Golf Resort, One San Marcos Place, Chandler, from noon to 4 p.m. The public is welcome. Cheryl’s Mardi Gras Jazz Band will entertain. Cheryl’s Cats & Jammers includes a lot of musicians (local and snowbirds) who jam at the Arizona Golf Resort and Voodoo Daddy’s. They will be playing between sets for a continuous Mardi Gras celebration. Beads will be provided, and there will be Second Line Parades (umbrellas also provided). Admission is $20. There will be two dance floors and seating with spacing to meet everybody’s wishes, with the choice of table or theater seating. Protective masks are required; masks, gloves for dancers, and hand sanitizer will be available. Decorative masks may be worn over protective masks.
Mardi Gras colors are purple representing justice, green representing faith, and gold representing power. The colors are thought to have been chosen by the Grand Duke Alexis Alexandrovich Romanoff of Russia during a visit to New Orleans in 1872, and are often incorporated into Mardi Gras costumes. Costumes are optional, but you may want to include a Mardi Gras color that day.
For more information, go to www.azclassicjazz.org, or contact Helen Daley at 480-620-3941.