Photo: Infrogmation [Wikipedia]
Every year, "Indians" suit up to revel in the Mardi Gras celebration in New Orleans, Louisiana. Here's a fascinating story at Life in the Fast Lane:
Each Indian typically makes their own costume with the aid from family and friends to sew elaborate bead and feather work. A chief’s costume can weigh up to 150 pounds (68 kilos) and cost up to $5,000 US to create. Tradition requires a new costume every year.
The tribes aren’t actually Native Indians, but African-Americans who perform the ritual in tribute to the Chickasaw, Choctaw and other American Indian tribes that once sheltered runaway slaves.
The tribes include “gangs,” such as the White Eagles, the Wild Magnolias and the White Cloud Hunters, ranging in size from 6 to several dozen members. The tribes are largely independent, but a pair of umbrella organizations loosely coordinate the Uptown Indians and the Downtown Indians.
They spend a full year painstakingly hand stitching the costumes, a technique passed from one generation to the next.