This Saturday, February 26, Carnivale comes to Colorado! This year’s festival theme is “Mystical Manitou.” While Mardi Gras proper isn’t until March 1, the Mumbo Jumbo Gumbo cook-off starts Saturday at 11 am with tastings at 75 cents each. The gumbo cook-off is celebrating its 28th year.
A Carnivale parade follows at 1 pm at Memorial Park. It is free to watch and march along down Manitou Avenue. The parade is now in its 30th year.
For those new to all things Mardi Gras, gumbo is a Cajun stew or soup served over rice. It starts with a “roux” base of browned butter and flour to which you add green peppers, onions, and garlic. From there, it can have any variety of seafood and meat, such as shrimp, chicken, and andouille sausage. It is also traditional to include okra and sprinkle gumbo file (dried sassafras leaves) on top.
Mardi Gras (or Shrove Tuesday) is a festival in the Christian liturgical season of Lent. It originated as a pagan celebration and is now celebrated by Christians worldwide, particularly those who use it as an occasion to party.
The term Mardi Gras is French for “Fat Tuesday”, referring to the practice of the last night of eating rich foods before Lent, Ash Wednesday.
The Mardi Gras celebrations are very popular in New Orleans, Louisiana. Mardi Gras is one of the most well-known carnivals around the world. In France, these celebrations are called Carnival (Carnaval). This week-long celebration at the end of winter is often considered a time to indulge before Lent begins.
New Orleans hosts one of the largest Mardi Gras parades in the world with over 100 floats and more than 400 marching bands that participate each year.
While the Manitou Springs parade and Carnivale will not equal the New Orleans celebration, it will offer Coloradoans an excuse to show off their masks and gumbo talents! Come taste for yourself!