Humankind has worn masks for well over nine thousand years. Whether it was for protection, ritual, celebration, or just for use in the performing arts, the mask is both part of ancient culture as well as it being a practical accessory. Throughout history, masks have been created in a vast array of styles for a wide variety of reasons. Mardi Gras and mask wearing are hopelessly entwined, as masks are an integral part of the Mardi Gras tradition, both historically as well as into the modern day.
Why Wear a Mask? No one is sure when Mardi Gras revelers began to wear masks or exactly why, although some theories have surfaced that may explain this time-honored tradition. As far back as the 13th century, laws and ordinances were on the books that strictly prohibited certain behaviors when done while wearing a mask. For example, gambling or tossing garbage were considered particularly egregious to do while masked, and thus became illegal. It’s safe to say that by this period in history, some folks had figured out that hiding behind a mask made it that much easier to be a bit naughty and to conceal one’s identity at the same time.
Mardi Gras is a time of raucous gaiety because it celebrates the last opportunity to eat, drink and be merry before the onset of Lent. It seems likely that many folks would embrace the idea of wearing a mask during the celebrating, primarily to conceal their identity while engaging in behavior that may not have been a part of their ordinary, everyday life. Mask wearing may have even been an act of defiant rebellion--as if to say, “I am going to do whatever I want, and no will ever know!” Masks may have protected the identity of Mardi Gras partiers, but in the process, the mask also became an integral part of Mardi Gras history and tradition.
Mardi Gras masks come in many different styles, shapes, and sizes, from those that cover only a small portion of the face, to those that cover the entire face. Some Mardi Gras masks are very elaborate, artistic and ornately decorated. Others are very simple and functional. Some types of Mardi Gras masks such as Venetian or masquerade styles are traditional pieces, with roots that go back for centuries.
No matter what your Mardi Gras celebration plans include, undoubtedly a mask of some sort is going to be an integral part of your Mardi Gras look. Halloween Express has a huge collection of masks that will fit the bill perfectly for all your Mardi Gras celebrating. Venetian masks, masquerade masks, stick masks, half masks, ribbon masks, feather masks, fantasy masks, animal masks, lace masks--and so much more! For an unforgettable undercover look that embraces all that Mardi Gras tradition offers, our mask selection has got you covered!
Happy Mardi Gras from your friends at Halloween Express!