Be sure and check out the SUPER SALE going on now on my Facebook Page! Fabulous deals on out of season merchandise! Click HERE to check it out!

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Happy Mardi Gras!

Even though the weather tried to put a damper on our party, we still had a great Mardi Gras weekend.  Saturday the weather was cold and windy in north Louisiana and rainy in south Louisiana.  I think the big Saturday night parades in New Orleans had to be re-scheduled for Sunday. 

But in Louisiana, we don’t let a little rain keep us from celebrating Mardi Gras!  We had a beautiful day Sunday and a good time was had by all at the local Highland parade.  Here are a couple of the floats:



In honor of Fat Tuesday, I’m reposting the

Mardi Gras History & Fun Facts 

I posted last year.  Enjoy!

  • When is Mardi Gras?  The Mardi Gras season begins on or after the Epiphany (or Twelfth Night)  and ends on the day before Ash Wednesday (Mardi Gras=French for Fat Tuesday) source

  • Why do we celebrate Mardi Gras? Mardi Gras is a period of abandon and merriment that precedes the penance of Lent.  Although originally of pagan content, the traditional carnival celebrations which precede Lent in many cultures have become associated with the season of fasting if only because they are a last opportunity for excess before Lent begins. source

  • When was the first Mardi Gras parade in Louisiana?

    The Mistick Krewe of Comus made its parading debut in a torch-lit procession on the night of Mardi Gras with two floats, costumed maskers and brass bands in 1857.  A group of businessmen and civic leaders invented a king of Carnival, Rex, in 1872. source

  • What’s the deal with the beads and coins?  The throwing of trinkets to the crowds was started in the early 1870s by the Twelfth Night Revelers.  In 1884, Rex started using medallions instead of trinkets. These medallions are represented by today's doubloons. Doubloons are usually aluminum and anodized in many different colors. They depict the parade theme on one side and the Krewe's emblem on the other.  source Other throws may include stuffed animals, small toy/trinkets, and even food like Moon Pies and hot dogs!   Try yelling “Throw me something, Mister!” at the float riders and see what you can catch! As a float is passing, instead of just waiving and glancing quickly from rider to rider, zero in on a single rider. Establish eye contact, flash a big smile and make a lot of noise.  Watch out while trying to pick up throws from the ground, you may get your fingers smashed as it is customary to step on a bead/doubloon on the ground, then bend down and pick it up.

    NEOPlex 3' x 5' Mardi Gras Historical Flag
  • Why all the purple, green and gold?  Rex selected the official Mardi Gras colors in 1872. The 1892 Rex Parade theme Symbolism of Colors gave meaning to the colors: Purple represents justice; green, faith; and gold, power. source

  • Who’s in charge of the parades, and how do I attend one? Krewes, or bands of people, construct their own floats and/or organize themselves to parade during Mardi Gras. The first krewe, formed in 1857, was called the Mystick Krewe of Comus, and the second krewe – the Krewe of Rex – was not established until 1872.  source Most Krewes developed from private social clubs that have restrictive membership policies. Today, in order to obtain a Parade Permit, all Orleans Parish Clubs must sign Affidavits agreeing not to discrimate in terms of membership, but many of the more established Krewes continue to allow membership by "invitation only."  source Krewe members are assessed fees in order to pay for the parade and/or ball. Fees can range from thousands of dollars a year per person for the most elaborate parades to as little as $20 a year for smaller marching clubssource Check the parade schedule for your town to find out when and where the parades are held.  Best of all, they’re FREE!!

  • What is a King Cake?  The king cake of the New Orleans Mardi Gras tradition comes in a number of styles. The most simple, said to be the most traditional, is a ring of twisted bread similar to that used in brioche topped with icing or sugar, usually colored purple, green, and gold. Some varieties have filling inside, the most common being cream cheese followed by praline. Popular bakeries such as Gambino's, Haydel’s, and Randazzo’s, feature original recipes and types of king cakes.  The cakes have a small plastic baby (sometimes said to represent Baby Jesus) inside, and the person who gets the piece of cake with the baby has various privileges and obligations (such as buying the cake for next year's celebration).  source

Mardi Gras Fun Facts

  • The average rider in a parade spends $600 to $800 just on throws, with some high rollers spending $2,500 or more. For a mega-parade like Endymion, with over 2,000 riders, that means upwards of $1.5 million of goodies tossed in a matter of hours.

  • Float parades were banned from the French Quarter’s narrow streets in 1973.

  • More than 500,000 king cakes are sold each year in New Orleans between January 6 and Fat Tuesday, and another 50,000 are shipped out-of-state via overnight courier.

  • The super parades of Endymion and Bacchus, scheduled for the Saturday and Sunday before Fat Tuesday, feature a combined total of 75 floats, 60 marching bands and more than 250 units. Their 2,300 members toss more than 1.5 million cups, 2.5 million doubloons and 200,000 gross of beads.

  • One of the most photographed objects in all of Mardi Gras is the Boeuf Gras float in the Rex parade. Since the Middle Ages, the bouef gras (fatted bull) has been the symbol of the last meat eaten before Lent. While once a live bull was included in the procession, now a huge papier-mache' figure appears.

    source source

You can see all of my Mardi Gras posts HEREHappy Mardi Gras!


  1. Thank you for this great explanation on the meaning of MardiGras - I have been to daughters during this time of year several times, and have enjoyed some of the best home town parades ever seen! Great post. Our daughter, a MN transplant to LA loves her new state! Just so far away tho! This year I crocheted hats for her and friends little girls to wear. They turned out cute. Purple, with Yellow, purple flower and green leaves. Have a great day!

  2. We were in N.O. Sunday for Mardi Gras & luckily the weather was AMAZING!!!! Happy Mardi Gras!

  3. The weather was def. to cold for us on Saturday but we did hang out there with the fam for a few hours before the sun went down)! But, Sunday it was beautiful and we really enjoyed the Highland parade! It was actually my first time to go (I did ride on my dad's fire truck one year) and I think my dog got more goodies than I did!

  4. Just wanted to say that I was one of the lucky people to get to march in Bacchus before it was banned from the French Quarter. There was very good reason for the ban. People packed the streets; marching groups were marching shoulder to shoulder and were being squeezed by the crowds. As an all girls' band (Riverdale High School), safety was a big concern! Actually, safety for everyone was a concern; Emergency vehicles were unable to access incidents along the packed route in the quarter. The floats had difficulty maneuvering in the narrow streets, and low hanging power lines grazed the tops of the floats. Still, as a 15 year old, it was very cool to march through the Quarter and then to march through the Rivergate where the krewes held their post-parade party!


Thanks for stopping by! I'd love to hear what you have to say!

Related Posts with Thumbnails