February 24, 2020

Webster University hosts Soiree Mardi Gras

Students, faculty and staff came together on Feb. 13 to celebrate Mardi Gras. While this celebration took place over ten days before the holiday is celebrated America, it offered attendees a look into how other cultures celebrate the event.

Webster University celebrated Mardi Gras early this year. The Centre Francophone invited students, faculty and staff to Soiree Mardi Gras. The event was held from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. in room 174 of the Interdisciplinary Science Building on Feb. 13.

French Teaching Assistant Morgane Daynes said the event offered an opportunity to teach people at Webster about how other cultures celebrate Mardi Gras. Malte Hansen, a Fulbright foreign language teaching assistant at Webster, said he learned that French Mardi Gras was not very different from Karneval in Germany.

“We figured out Mardi Gras, or Karneval as we call it in Germany, is not that different from how you guys do it in France,” Hansen said. “So we figured we should just do a giant event and celebrate French Mardi Gras and German Karneval.”

Students decorate masks and enjoy crepes at Mardi Gras celebration. Photo by Cas Waigand.

Daynes explained much of her inspiration for the event came from the Mardi Gras celebration held in Nice, France. She said that the event lasts 15 days in total.

“So we talked about how they celebrated with floats, and people dancing and a lot of music,” Daynes explained. “They make masks… and for Mardi Gras, you also eat a lot of crepes.”

Hansen added that Karneval in Germany offers many of the same events as Nice, France. Because of this inspiration, attendees listened to music, designed masks and tried a variety of foods.

Not all of the celebration was based on international cultures, however. Attendees were also able to try King Cake, a tradition that is popular in New Orleans. King Cake is a colorfully decorated dessert that hides a plastic baby that represents Jesus on the inside.

“The King Cake is actually from New Orleans. So as it’s a city that is really influenced by the French culture we wanted to add that here too, to bring a little American-y thing,” Daynes said.

While the event offered attendees a chance to learn about French and German cultures, Hansen added he is also excited to be able to experience Mardi Gras in a different way this year.

“I’m excited to see how it is like in St. Louis,” Hansen said.

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