Mardi Gras is one of the rowdiest events of the year. “Mardi Gras” in French is translated as “Fat Tuesday” in English. It is a raucous and hedonistic event that is held the Tuesday before Ash Wednesday. This has traditionally been the “last hurrah” before the start of the Lenten season. The event has also been referred to “Shrove Tuesday” and indulgent meals are eaten to prepare you for Lenten fasting and restraint. This is the last day of the “carnival season” and no matter what you call it, the event includes gluttonous amounts of food and sin-like behavior. The city of New Orleans is always alive, but Mardi Gras bring the city to life like never before. There are many fun hats and masks associated with the holiday and getting dressed up is half the fun.
The Colors of Mardi Gras
There are three important colors associated with Fat Tuesday and Mardi Gras. The first color associated with this rambunctious holiday is purple. The color purple signifies justice. The second color associated with the holiday is green signifying faith. The third major color is gold signifying power. These colors are personified on masks, cakes, parade floats, beads, clothing, tapestry and much more. These colors have been associated with the holiday since its inception. Bright colors, images, fun filled streets and great food are all a huge part of the Mardi Gras holiday. We have been celebrating "Fat Tuesday" for over a hundred years and it is one of the most entertaining, history rich events in our country's long illustrious history.
There are many facts that you might not know about Fat Tuesday (Mardi Gras)
1) If you were not aware, Mardi Gras and "Carnival" are the same celebration.
2) The second little known fact is that many people think that the holiday has pagan roots. However the holiday was born due to the Catholic Church’s discouragement of sex and the eating of meat during the Lenten season.
3) New Orleans was actually not the first host of the Mardi Gras celebration. That honor goes to the city of Mobile which would be the present day Alabama.
4) Mardi Gras celebrations survived early efforts at suppression and this year alone one million visitors are expected in New Orleans.
5) Small social societies like the Mistick Krewe of Comus kept the celebrations going during the battles against suppression. The year 1837 saw the first Mardi Gras street parade.
7) Mardi Gras celebrations have occasionally been cancelled over the years. This has actually occurred 12 times since 1857 and the last time this occurred was in the year 1945.
8) The Super Bowl in New Orleans interrupted the parade schedule and the typical 12-day parade season was expanded. Official parades have been banned from the narrow tourist filled streets of the French Quarter since the 1970’s.
9) If you have not heard of King Cake, it is only eaten during Mardi Gras. The cake is made of brioche dough and is braided and filled with cinnamon. The dough is glazed like a doughnut and the glaze is made of the iconic colors including purple, green, and gold. The thing that really sets this cake apart from other baked delights is the little plastic baby that is hidden in each cake. The person who finds the baby traditionally has to buy the cake next year or host the next year’s party.
The best part of Mardi Gras is dressing up in great hats and masks and just let loose. You can find a great deal of "Fat Tuesday" hats and a big selection of Masquerade masks perfect for your theme party or celebration.