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15 Weirdest Mardi Gras Rituals

Best Life Logo By Ari Notis of Best Life | Slide 1 of 16: The beads! The parades! The raucous revelry! Yes, it's that time of year: Mardi Gras, where 1.4 million people descend on New Orleans to indulge in all manner of partying and celebration. (Not for nothing: The population of New Orleans proper, meanwhile, clocks in at a little under 400,000.) Meanwhile, cities all around the country—including Mobile, Pensacola, St. Louis, and Tulsa—are breaking out into lesser-known yet equally exuberant celebrations of their own. And chances are, your local pub has at least a few dedicated drink specials.In short, Mardi Gras is an enormous, near-unavoidable annual tradition in American life. But have you ever stopped to truly think about it? Why, for instance, do we chuck bushels of vibrant plastic beads at one another? Or why do some folks (the brave ones) twirl flaming sticks like they're mere color guard accessories? To shine light on these zany traditions, we've collected the 15 weirdest Mardi Gras rituals—and the fascinating history behind them—below. And for more on celebratory rituals, learn <a href="http://bestlifeonline.com/worst-christmas-traditions/?utm_source=msn&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=msn-feed">The 22 Christmas Traditions That Should Be Retired Immediately</a>.

15 Weirdest Mardi Gras Rituals

The beads! The parades! The raucous revelry! Yes, it's that time of year: Mardi Gras, where 1.4 million people descend on New Orleans to indulge in all manner of partying and celebration. (Not for nothing: The population of New Orleans proper, meanwhile, clocks in at a little under 400,000.) Meanwhile, cities all around the country—including Mobile, Pensacola, St. Louis, and Tulsa—are breaking out into lesser-known yet equally exuberant celebrations of their own. And chances are, your local pub has at least a few dedicated drink specials.In short, Mardi Gras is an enormous, near-unavoidable annual tradition in American life. But have you ever stopped to truly think about it? Why, for instance, do we chuck bushels of vibrant plastic beads at one another? Or why do some folks (the brave ones) twirl flaming sticks like they're mere color guard accessories? To shine light on these zany traditions, we've collected the 15 weirdest Mardi Gras rituals—and the fascinating history behind them—below. And for more on celebratory rituals, learn The 22 Christmas Traditions That Should Be Retired Immediately.
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