Riverview Manor residents celebrate Mardi Gras

With safety protocols in place, residents enjoyed a piece of New Orleans in the home

A little bit of New Orleans came to Riverview Manor in mid-February.

The Peterborough long-term care home hosted its own version of Mardi Gras, the famed carnival held every year in the Big Easy on Shrove Tuesday.

Residents living on the north side of Riverview Manor celebrated Mardi Gras with a pub night organized by the life enrichment team on Feb. 15 and those living on the south side celebrated on Feb. 16, which was Shrove Tuesday.

Mardi Gras, which translates to “Fat Tuesday,” gets its name from the tradition of Catholics eating rich, high-calorie foods the day before the start of Lent the next day, Ash Wednesday.

So, of course, there were plenty of snacks available for residents to enjoy, including mozzarella sticks, pigs in a blanket, sour cream ring chips and a special gelatin dessert life enrichment aide Adam Wicklum made with Jell-O featuring the three colours representing Mardi Gras, green, gold and purple.

For drinks, residents had a choice of Mardi Gras purple punch with cherry and pineapple ice cubes or beer and pop.

Each of the Mardi Gras colours carries significance. Green represents faith, gold stands for power and purple signifies justice. Adam also made a Mardi Gras backdrop using these three main colours.

Masks and beads are also part of Mardi Gras celebrations, and Adam attached Mardi Gras masks and beads to the colourful backdrop for added effect.

Mardi Gras beads are said to be protective and ward off evil spirits or spells, and they can also be good-luck charms, Adam explains.

Music is another important feature of any Mardi Gras celebration, and residents listened to Louisiana-flavoured music through Spotify during the events.

Due to the ongoing global COVID-19 pandemic, social distancing was in effect and there were transparent barriers between people to ensure everyone kept safe.

“(During) other years, residents got Mardi Gras masks and beads (to wear), but because of COVID-19 they did not this year for their safety, but they had this year’s backdrop for decoration and (there were) photo sessions with some residents,” Adam says.

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