Mardi Gras is Mardi Great


From left to right: Amadine Vardhan, Mme Cayla, Neil Karkhanis, Nicole Huynh, Jessica Mason, Jack Merrell, and Ronit Gupta pose at the Mardi Gras photo booth.

Alice Shu, Staff Writer

Hosted by Madame Cayla’s French students on Feb. 5 in the cafeteria, the 15th annual Mardi Gras was a science fair-like celebration that brought centuries of French culture to Irvington students. Mardi Gras, or Fat Tuesday, is a celebration period before the fasting of Lent, famously celebrated in New Orleans.  This year’s theme was “Centuries of France,” and each station featured a presentation on French culture during an era of French history, from the Middle Ages to the students’ predictions of the future. Each station also featured activities that varied from booth to booth.

“I think Mardi Gras really celebrates French culture very well, given that it’s a very traditional and ongoing event,” said Joshua Kim (12), French club vice president.

This year, the voodoo and palm reading booths received a lot of attention. The French students extensively researched how to hold a seance, a ritual during which people attempt to make contact with the dead. The booth had a inviting but dark aesthetic to it, making the demonstrations seem authentic. The demonstrations by students were well-rehearsed, and I was convinced that black magic was present.

The stations offered a variety of activities that encouraged interaction between students. At the Middle Ages station, there was pool-noodle sword fighting, and at the “France of the Future” station, there was a rocket bean bag toss, just two of the many activities present at Mardi Gras. Many stations had quiz games that would reward listeners with bread or candy if they were able to recall the presentation. There were also many photo opportunities, such as a Mardi Gras photo booth with masks and props, and a non-functioning guillotine at the 18th-century station. Clearly, a lot of effort was put into the props and presentations, including cardboard castles and parody paintings of Renaissance masterpieces, which made them look extremely accurate and polished. Overall, Mardi Gras was well organized and well executed, pun intended.

At the event, students were actively engaged, whether it was listening to presentations, taking pictures, or socializing with students from other classes. With a social event to rival ASG dances, people were able to spend time with their friends during class, no matter who their teacher was.

The whole idea behind Mardi Gras is really partying, because you never know if you’re gonna die tomorrow. So really that idea, the big party before Lent, is just having fun,” said French Club president Amandine Vardhan (11).

Mardi Gra gave students time during school to relax and socialize with their friends, which made it a success for both French students and the other students that attended this year’s Mardi Gras.