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Festive Facts About Mardi Gras

By Dontaira Terrell
Posted On Feb 09, 2016
Festive Facts About Mardi Gras

A city filled with a dynamic culture, rich history, artistic goldmines, and mouthwatering cuisines, New Orleans is a magical place filled with an excessive amount of legendary significance. Each year, the traditions of Carnival season take center stage to ignite a frenzy of tourists that travel near and far to partake in the festivities.

The Mardi Gras celebrations truly live up to the old French saying, “Laissez le bon temps rouler,” Let the good times roll! If you’re gracing the streets of the French Quarter, pounding the pavement from Canal to Magazine or traveling from St. Charles to St. Bernard parish, here are a few festive facts you should probably know about the world famous celebration of Mardi Gras.

Photo Credit: Shutter Stock
Photo Credit: Shutter Stock

As a brief history refresher, Mardi Gras is actually French for Fat Tuesday and always falls the day before Ash Wednesday, which is the first day of Lent. As one last time to live it up before the meditative and reflective days of Lent takes place, Fat Tuesday officially marks the ending of Carnival season.

If you’ve never experienced a Second Line Parade, you’re definitely missing out on one of the best and most unique local expressions that captivate the city’s essence. With horns blaring, vivacious tunes, strutting dance grooves, complete with a brass band and handkerchiefs twirlin’ in the air, the excitement never ceases only intensifies!

We can’t forget about the infamous bead throwing and color symbolism surrounding the purple, green and gold. Around 1892 these colors became interchangeable with Mardi Gras when Rex affectionately known as the King of Mardi Gras, affirmed these three colors as the official color scheme. Purple symbolizing justice, green representing faith and gold signifying power. 

Photo Credit: Shutter Stock
Photo Credit: Shutter Stock

Ahhh, and what about the delicious and delectable King Cake! An extremely popular custom that holds a large amount of religious sentiment represents the three kings who brought gifts to the Christ child. Here’s the kicker, a plastic baby is baked inside each cake and the person who receives the baby within their slice of cake must either throw the next party or purchase the next King Cake! With that in mind, if you’re in the Crescent City don’t forget to enjoy a taste of New Orleans with a King’s Cake!

As a final must know fact, participants of the parades are commonly referred to as, “krewes.” From a legality standpoint, the city of Nola declares individuals considered part of the, “krewe” must wear masks while riding atop of the floats with the exception of celebs & royal party members. Face painting is also an exception to the rules. Either way without a mask or face painting while riding inside of the float during the parade is considered illegal.

As an added bonus, did you know Louisiana is the ONLY state in which Mardi Gras is deemed as an official holiday? Also from a personal perspective, it’s more than “girls gone wild” as it is often times portrayed to the masses. It is truly a family affair from the historic annual Zulu ball to Lundi Gras and Bacchus parade, only naming a few of the celebrations that heavily involve the cultural eclecticism of the Big Easy.

With that said, Happy Mardi Gras 2016!