So, a holiday with a French name will not escape being celebrated by OU’s French Club. Amongst friends, food, and not-so-subtle decorations; fun was had and some French was spoken. It was an interesting experience discovering how native French people view the “western” celebration of Mardi Gras. Having been a Catholic nation for such a long time, I wasn’t shocked when I was informed that it’s a much more… solemn holiday in France itself. Though, I wonder if that’s just because we throw bigger, wilder parties in the Western Hemisphere?
Despite it being thrown in a club dedicated to France and French culture, there was a distinctive non-French feeling attached to everything we did. Upon further thought, that could be because three of the four leaders of the club (including myself) have lived in Louisiana in our lifetimes. As any American should know, Louisiana doesn’t hold back during Mardi Gras. Once the celebration starts, you can practically feel the ground vibrating with the overwhelming exhilaration. (I should probably note here that the punch French club served was 100% non-alcoholic. It’s a university requirement.) We provided a very toned-down experience for our less-experienced guests so as not to overwhelm their senses all at once.
Overall, though, I would say it was a great experience and even if we didn’t participate in “traditional” French culture surrounding the holiday, we did learn quite a bit about the differences from native French people themselves. Besides, everyone had fun and perhaps we’ll do a better job next year.