Mardi Gras is celebrated around the globe, with vivacious events occurring in New Orleans, Brazil, and Venice. These festivities mark Ash Wednesday and Lent’s start date, respectively.
As parade floats pass by, their riders often toss trinkets such as beads to spectators – these people form part of an ancient Carnival organization known as a krewe.
Purple, green, and gold are the official Mardi Gras colors worn by members of krewes (informal mystic societies that parade during Carnival). Krewes typically parade on Fat Tuesday (also known as Shrove Tuesday) before the Christian feast of Epiphany or Three Kings Day and before Lent begins on Ash Wednesday.
Errol Flynn Laborde, historian and author of Mardi Gras: A History of Carnival in New Orleans, details its roots. Citing a newspaper article written about by the King of Carnival himself in 1872 declaring balconies should be draped with these colors, Laborde suggests this decision could also have been affected by local stores stocking these materials during Mardi Gras season; in any event, these are now the colors by which New Orleanians live their lives.
Masks are a fun and practical part of Carnival apparel worn by revelers across the board. Ranging from jester-style, circus, or skull-inspired masks – masks play an integral role in parade processions as krewe members seek to differentiate themselves from one another in a crowd by donning masks of various types to distinguish their organization or group from others in attendance.
Mardi Gras masking dates back to Saturnalia, an ancient Roman festival celebrating fertility and new life through throwing dice, drawing lots, or finding small tokens like coins, beans, or peas hidden within food. Over time, Christian traditions merged this practice with this one to commemorate Epiphany.
New Orleans’ social elite formalized Carnival festivities during the 19th century by creating parades and balls organized by krewes. These clubs made an air of honor and privilege by adopting Old European culture, such as pomp, royalty, and chivalry, to assert their social superiority; invitations to these illustrious events became highly prized – when two invitations went missing to Mistick Krewe of Comus’ ball in 1877 alone, a $2,000 reward was offered as compensation.
Krewes sought to add extra grandeur and festivity to their floats and balls by creating elaborate costumes to reflect their themes and identities. To draw more spectators in, they adopted a tradition dating back to European Carnivals from 15th and 16th-century bauble-throwing: they would throw parade floats or balconies onto spectators, as part of their parade route – an idea adopted from European Carnivals; quickly realizing this practice could help promote their parties by drawing more attention towards their lavish costumes and extravagant floats!
Flashing, a highly provocative form of masking, involves revealing body parts usually covered up in exchange for beads and trinkets; women, in particular, use flashing as a popular means to earn these trinkets. Flashing was originally an informal, casual affair that provided an adrenaline-fuelled rush of excitement that quickly became addicting.
Mardi Gras Indians represent another form of evil with their costumed sin during Mardi Gras. These African-American men and women dress in native-inspired clothing in order to mock segregation in cities across America, having emerged during post-Reconstruction America from their roots in African, Caribbean, and American folk cultures, along with colonialism that blended these cultures.
Embroidery is one of the classic and beloved ways to show your passion for Mardi Gras. As an art form, embroidery can be used on everything from clothing and bags to body paint! There are intricate or simple embroidery designs available with beads from Mardi Gras. Additionally, personalized messages can even be embroidered onto the back of the shirt!
Mardi Gras is an occasion for commemorating life. It brings people together from all backgrounds to celebrate color, culture, food, and music – while creating lasting memories from days gone by.
People often associate Mardi Gras with parades and festivities held in the French Quarter. But this festival involves so much more. One unique aspect is the King and Queen of each krewe – individuals who work tirelessly for months prior to Fat Tuesday in preparation for these grand parades and balls.
New Orleans is also home to many smaller krewes, with one such microbrewery – Tit Rex being New Orleans’ very own microbrewery. This group features miniature floats and carnival throws,, which are handed out rather than tossed – in keeping with its theme and purpose.
Zulu coconuts, small coconuts thrown by Krewe members during parades, are an iconic tradition of Mardi Gras. While these coconuts may provide delicious treats for revelers to snack upon, they also can be dangerous as they are easily broken when mishandled and may endanger both animals and people alike.
Are You Planning on Attending Mardi Gras? There are numerous stores in Baton Rouge offering attire suitable for Mardi Gras festivities. Boutiques specialize in purple, green, and gold clothing pieces such as shirts, dresses, and jackets, as well as glittered shoes with beaded embellishments as well as handcrafted beaded earrings to get ready.
Arts & Crafts
Have you experienced Mardi Gras for yourself or just seen pictures? Regardless, its celebrations are known for being vibrant affairs full of color and cheer – perfect inspiration for adding these dynamic styles into designs for posters, invitations, or party decorations!
Masks have long been a part of Carnival celebrations. Crowns and jesters are also common themes, along with Mardi Gras colors such as purple, gold,, and green. Embroidery has become another popular craft used to add personal touches to celebrations while providing guests with souvenirs to remember them by.
Beads thrown from parade floats in New Orleans hold special significance. Their colors symbolize different values: purple stands for justice, gold for power, and green fertility – the same colors featured on Louisiana’s state flag. Other symbolic aspects of Mardi Gras include fleur-de-lis decorations as well as King and Queen figures, which appear on parade floats during parades.
Mardi Gras is an annual family-friendly event held throughout the Gulf Coast region of the United States. This festival is best known for its lively street parades featuring intricately designed floats that throw beads, moon pies, and other treats onto crowds below. Mardi Gras is a beloved annual tradition amongst many families as it allows them to celebrate both weather and local culture while creating memories to last a lifetime.
Mardi Gras is celebrated throughout Louisiana and draws its inspiration from its long and rich history, which can be seen through vibrant parades and festivities each year. Residents from across the U.S. flock to this festive event for an unforgettable experience.
This festival has long been a tourist favorite and is the largest of its kind in the Southeast. Local artisans display their creative works, from leather goods and paintings to photography and glasswork, at this event, while there are food vendors, entertainment, and music sure to satisfy any palate.