Most outsiders stand in awe of Mardi Gras Indians’ elaborate suits, but due to the secrecy of this ritual few understand its origins. Join Tank Ball as she meets Masking Indians and explores one of the most sacred rituals in New Orleans.
Black Masking Mardi Gras Indians is a cultural tradition that originated in New Orleans, where African American men and women dress up in elaborate, handmade suits to parade through the streets on Mardi Gras day, Super Sunday, and other festive occasions.
Their suits are adorned with intricate beadwork, feathers, and other embellishments, and are designed to represent different themes or characters. The Mardi Gras Indians also engage in ceremonial battles or "run-ins" with other tribes, showcasing their creativity, craftsmanship, and community pride.
This tradition is believed to have some roots in cultural expressions from many African and Caribbean societies as well as the history of enslaved Africans and Native Americans in Louisiana, who formed alliances and shared cultural practices in resistance to colonial oppression.