Magic and Mystery: Mardi Gras and Carnival Traditions

October 29 – March 19, 2023

October 29 - March 19, 2023

Petrik Gallery

All over the world, Carnival celebrations take place in the days leading up to Ash Wednesday and Lent. In the United States, this festival is called Mardi Gras. Czechs call it Masopust and the Slovak word is Fašiangy.

In the United States, Czech glass Mardi Gras beads were worn and thrown to crowds in New Orleans. In the Czech and Slovak Republics, costumes may depict a bear on a chain and its master, the so-called hřebenář (hair comb maker), a devil, animals, or the chimney sweep.

This exhibit will feature Czech and Slovak Carnival masks and costumes next to ornate beaded parade costumes from the American south, along with Czech beaded necklaces. Artifacts and images will be borrowed from museums in the United States as well as in the Czech Republic and Slovakia.

In the spirit of Carnival celebrations, an 8’ x 4’ float created by Metro High School geometry students provides visitors an opportunity to help decorate a part of the exhibit. Animal-themed masks, designed and created by Metro High School art students, will help you capture a festive Mardi Gras picture!

Sponsored by: BetterLife, CRST, Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs, and the City of Cedar Rapids Hotel-Motel Tax.

5 Comments. Leave new

  • Audrey Lensing
    October 18, 2022 10:11 AM

    This will be a very exciting exhibit to go see! Especially for us in NE Iowa since our organization, Czech Heritage Partnership hosts a Masopust Celebration for the past 16 years and we are doing it again this coming year on February 18, 2023 at PIVO Brewery in Calmar IA. Please check out our FB Page for more info on our Celebration!

  • We’re Mardi Gras in Iowa.What city in Iowa. Thank you!

  • Shirley Kirchner
    February 5, 2023 12:38 PM

    Since I have just discovered that my ancestors were Czech (Bohemian) I am interested in their culture and would like to learn more. This is the first place I have found that might have suggestions.


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