In parts of Cajun country, such as Mamou, Eunice, Basile, and Church Point, the traditional Courir de Mardi Gras (French for the "Mardi Gras Run") is still held.
The Courir de Mardi Gras (Mardi Gras run) is Cajun Country's traditional rural celebration
dating back to the earliest days of settlement. With its roots firmly in the medieval tradition
of ceremonial begging, bands of masked and costumed horseback riders roam the countryside
"begging" for ingredients for their communal gumbo. "Le Capitaine," a caped but unmasked
captain, leads the riders from house to house where they dance and sing for donations such as
chicken, sausage, rice and onions to be used in the gumbo. The day's festivities end with a
fais-do-do (dance) and lots of gumbo for Mardi Gras revelers. There are dozens of Courirs des
Mardi Gras in the towns and villages surrounding Lafayette and some of them can make
arrangements for visitors to participate in the run.
After the riders spend the day passing from house to house, begging for ingredients for a gumbo,
the courir comes to an end. Different towns and areas end the day slightly differently - some
end with street dances in a town square, and some simply end in the front yard of a country
farmhouse. Invariably, though, live music, food, and camaraderie are major parts of the day.
Usually, beer or other libations also take part, in pretty serious quantity. After all, Mardi Gras
is the last day of celebration before the long fasting period of Lent an important time of year
for the Cajuns, who are primarily Roman Catholic.
In parts of Cajun country, such as Mamou, Eunice, Basile, and Church Point, the traditional
Courir de Mardi Gras (French for the "Mardi Gras Run") is still held.