It is finally here — the time of the year when everyone goes crazy, especially on Galveston Island! After another year of planning, legal battles, and tremendous creative efforts, Mardi Gras 2020 is here. Coming early this year, the blue, green, and gold event begins on the same day as another “biggie” in the realm of holidays and celebrations: St. Valentine’s Day.
This year, Friday, February 14 will not only serve as the day to shoot or dodge Cupid’s arrows, but also the day to break out the beads, King Cakes, and other festive activities that come with the celebration of Mardi Gras on the Island.
St. Valentine’s Day! So, what is the big deal? It is a really big deal if you are in love with someone or maybe even have a crush on another person. Aside from all the commercialization which now comes with every holiday, Valentine’s Day is a big money-maker, especially for those that sell cards, candy, and flowers. Just about everyone loves to receive a card or some gift that reflects a feeling of love and desire. Victor Hugo said, “Life’s greatest happiness is to be convinced we are loved.” This is true. Everyone wants to be loved and feel they are important to someone.
For me, Valentine’s Day is sort of a “have and have not” day; it is pretty great is you have someone special and pretty rotten if you are alone and even worse if you want someone but they do not want you in return. Robert Frost wisely put it, “Love is the irresistible desire to be irresistibly desired.” Indeed it is.
Even if single, the day can be a great time to express warm feelings for a family member, friend or even a co-worker. Love does not have to be romantic or mushy. In the end, it is a fun day to let folks know you care and are happy they are in your life.
“Valentine’s Day is a day of love which honestly, love should be given, fulfilled and shown every day not just one time out of a year. Love is the key essence to life; it touches the heart and embraces the mind.” —Telisa McCaughlin
Since the first day of Mardi Gras falls on St. Valentine’s Day this year, why not make it a very special event? Kill two birds with one stone, so to speak. Get your sweetie something nice — a card, some candy, flowers, or all of it. Why not? It is a day to express yourself.
The great thing is that this year, you can cap Valentine’s Day evening by participating in some “opening night” Mardi Gras activities. There are always a few parades, balls and festive parties that kick off the first night of the two weeks ahead.
After much fuss and even a court battle, for now, things will stay the same. The parades will travel the same routes, venues will remain in previous locations, and there will still be closed streets and a charge to enter certain areas. Nothing has changed other than some Galvestonians, a handful of merchants, a judge, and some lawyers have had their day in court…well, almost. The judge dismissed the suit being brought by a downtown business owner and merchant, mainly against the business and merchant that appears to profit most by promoting certain downtown Mardi Gras (and other) events that require closing public streets and charging admission fees to access certain areas within. The case and dismissal are being appealed and time marches on. If you ask me (and rarely does anyone), the ones that mainly benefit are the lawyers!
Don’t let the legal crap dampen your 2020 Mardi Gras fun. The parades, of which there are many, remain free and fun. The routes are always lined with bead-snatching party-goers that turn out no matter the weather or court battle. The clubs in Galveston, are busting at the seams with craziness, and parties abound on every block. The parades, times and events are too numerous to list, however, Galveston.Com provides a really good itemized event list, as well as the official City of Galveston website, complete with parade times and routes. If you are lucky enough to be invited or pay to attend a private ball, party, or ride on afloat, it is well worth it!
Most locals say they really prefer the second weekend of Mardi Gras. The popular Krewe of Momus night parade is on Saturday, February 25 and is always a huge party for everyone. By this time in the two weeks, everyone has partied, caught beads, danced, and visited port-a-potties until they are blue in the face.
The wildest parade of all, however, is the Fat Tuesday (Mardi Gras) parade on February 28. This is the culmination of all the parades, parties, and festivities. Traditionally it is the night to “get it all out” before Ash Wednesday and Lent on February 29.
For those that believe and participate, Lent is the beginning of a 40-day period leading to Easter Sunday. During Lent, the worn-out partiers are encouraged to turn from sin, examine their lives, and prepare for Easter. Rather spiritual or not, it provides a great opportunity for some self-examination and maybe even fix some karma! During Lent, participants are encouraged to give-up things in which they indulge or that stand in the way of their spiritual path. There are comments on giving-up sweets, alcohol, drugs, cigarettes, certain foods, or other items that, at times, can dominate a person. In truth, though not easier, it is better to give up actions and ideals that are not healthy, such as lies, gossip, anger, bigotry, and so forth. These are the “bad candies” that prevent us from becoming the true persons we need to be.
Regardless of what you give up this year, go out and have a great and safe time. There are worse things than getting hit by Cupid’s arrow or falling in love. Grab some beads when they fly by, drink up, and party. Then on Wednesday, bid it all farewell for Lent! Good luck!