New Orleans 2023 Mardi Gras to Honor Siena’s Historic Palio

Feb 20, 2023 304

New Orleans and Siena are, in many ways, spiritual sister cities. The Palio and Carnival are both important civic rituals that bring their communities together in celebration. Just as the foundation of Mardi Gras is religious, celebrated on the day before Ash Wednesday, the same is true for the Palio, as each race is run on a feast day honoring the Virgin Mary. Just as Siena is a city of neighborhoods, so too is New Orleans.

Serendipitously, Siena is divided into 17 contrade, just as New Orleans is partitioned into 17 wards. The floats of Rex’s 2023 Parade artistically represent each of Siena’s 17 contrade, ten of which compete in each Palio di Siena. Much as Carnival helps define New Orleans, the centuries-old traditions of the Palio help define the ancient Tuscan city of Siena, Italy. 

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