Mardi Gras Indian

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Uploaded 24 Mar 2008 — 2 favorites
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© Kathleen DesHotel
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Photo Info
UploadedMarch 25, 2008
TakenFebruary 4, 2008
Exposure1/60 sec at f/5.5
FlashNo Flash
Focal Length22.8 mm
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Photo license: © All rights reserved

It is a long standing Mardi tradition for African American men to dress like Indians on Mardi Gras day and parade through neighborhoods meeting other tribes and their chiefs along the way. There is competition among groups for who has the most beautiful costume. There are distinct design differences between the costumes of the Downtown Indians and the Uptown Indians. When they meet, each Indian is proud of the costume he has created. An unspoken tradition of comparison of their beauty takes place. Masking as an Indian means designing and creating a new costume every year. As soon as Mardi Gras day is over, the Indians begin designing and then creating their heavily beaded costumes for the next year. Usually the man himself creates his costume, sometimes his wife will assist with the sewing and beading. Keeping with the secrecy of Mardi Gras traditions, no one outside of the circle of immediate family members and close friends will have an opportunity to witness a suit's creation before Mardi Gras. But, on Mardi Gras day when the Indian steps out of his front door, everyone admires and respects the work and the beauty of him and his costume creation. At that time, an everyday working man becomes a hero and a thing of beauty!

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