Tuesday, February 5, 2013


One of the reasons Paris authorities once banned the throwing of paper confetti at the Carnaval de Paris was because confetti fights were so much fun people were scooping it up off the dirty streets to re-throw it, posing what was perceived to be public hygiene issues. The ban was in force from 1919 thru 1932, with the exception of 1922 when it was authorized by a tolerant and short-term préfet de police.

Paper confetti, as opposed to the traditional Italian confetti made of plaster chips, first came wildly into vogue during the Mardi Gras celebrations in Paris 1892. Above is a Toulouse-Lautrec poster created for a London confetti manufacturer in 1894. At the time, to shower a woman with confetti was considered an amorous advance, which only added to the moral controversy that raged over the probity of tolerating a city-wide letting go, as it were, for the time of the carnival period.

un préfet de police:  a police commissioner, a chief constable
se lâcher:  to let oneself go; let go

©2013 P.B. Lecron

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