UPPER CHETCO CELEBRATES MARDI GRAS

February 16, 2002 12:00 am
Veronica Henry peers from a feathered mask. ().
Veronica Henry peers from a feathered mask. ().

Who needs New Orleans? While Mardi Gras is in full swing in Louisiana, Upper Chetco School threw its own version of the extravagant holiday.

Students and faculty dressed up in colorful costumes, adorned themselves with beads and peered through feathered masks.

The gymnasium buzzed with activity as gypsies, motocross racers and cowboys played ring toss and delved into a surprise treasure chest for various prizes.

Teacher Nicole Darger said the festival integrated lessons in social studies, music and art. The students have been studying the origin of Mardi Gras, and followed many of the festivals traditions. They handcrafted floats out of shoe boxes and construction paper. The beads draped around revelers symbolize the strands of beads and other objects thrown to the crowd from float riders at the New Orleans festival.

A king and queen for each classroom was chosen with a King cake. The boy and girl who found a jelly bean in their piece of cake became royalty for the day.

The tradition of the King cake is said to have originated from the European countries that baked a cake during Epiphany in honor of the wise men bearing gifts for the Christ Child the three kings. The Europeans baked a bean into the cake and the person receiving the bean portrayed one of the kings.

Mardi Gras is believed to have arrived in North America from Paris, where it has been celebrated since the Middle Ages. It is traditionally the two-week period of merriment preceding Lent.