What is Mardi Gras?
Mardi Gras is a celebratory parade that is related to Carnival and Epiphany. It is a French term that translates to Fat Tuesday, with Mardi meaning Tuesday and Gras meaning Fat. It is celebrated worldwide and varies slightly from country to country, but its main elements remain the same. Mardi Gras celebration includes: feasting, partying, parades, and jewelry.
Which Countries Observe Mardi Gras?
Mardi Gras is celebrated worldwide, especially in countries like the US, UK, Germany, France, Italy, and Russia.
History Of Mardi Gras
During their exploration, Pierre Le Moyne and Sieur De Bienville, French explorers, reached and landed on the spot 60 miles south of what we now know as New Orleans. They named this spot "Pointe du Mardi Gras" on March 2nd, 1699, and decided to celebrate, realizing it was the day before a very festive holiday. This celebration continued annually, and soon, in 1703, the first-ever Mardi Gras was celebrated by Fort Luis de la Mobile.
Other French settlers and locals celebrated the day in the following years with street parties, elegant dining, and dance balls. But soon, these were put to an end by the Spanish when they overtook New Orleans and banned these festivities. But this didn't last long, as, in 1812, Louisiana had become a free and independent US State. So these festivities soon resumed and began to be more extravagant each year.
Following the tradition in 1827, the celebrations began to evolve, and some students decided to dance through the streets wearing elaborate and bright costumes. They did that to emulate revelry, which soon became a part of the celebrations.
During the 1830s, versions of the present-day Mardi Gras could be seen. Street processions, gaslight torches, and masked carriages became standard elements of the festive holiday.
In 1872, Rex was invented by a group of businessmen to watch over these parades. Rex was known as the King of Carnival. As it so happened that the grand duke of Russia of that time, Duke Alexis Romanoff, was visiting the parade. So the business people decided to honor the duke by selecting the duke's family colors as the official colors for Carnival. Gold represents power.
Purple represents justice. Green represents faith. It was also when the anthem of Mardi Gras was created.
All this eventually led to 1875 when the governor of that time, Warmoth, at last, declared Mardi Gras as a holiday and made it official by signing the Mardi Gras Act, making it official.
How to Celebrate Mardi Gras?
The best way to celebrate Mardi Gras is by participating in the festivities directly and participating in the parade. People go to great lengths and put in much effort to make these festivals extravagant and fun! But even if you cannot attend the parade, there are things you can do at home to celebrate this day with friends and family. For instance, you can:
1. Go 3G, Gold, Green, and (G)purple
Embracing the colors of Madri Gras is a fun thing you can do. As I previously mentioned, Gold represents power, green represents faith, and purple represents justice. Even color-wise, these 3 are complementary colors that represent and scream out fun and party time! Decorating your celebrations in these three colors is a fun option.
2. Bead Up!
You can never have enough beads and jewelry for Mardi Gras. It is a common tradition for people to wear unnecessary amounts of jewelry on Mardi Gras. They wear those themselves and give them off to anyone and everyone they see and come across. You can get Mardi Gras-themed beaded necklaces and jewelry at quite reasonable prices.
3. Dress Up!
Put on anything with the colors of Madri Gras, and go crazy! You don't need to have anything matching. Wear that flashy golden shirt with a pair of purple shorts and a green scarf, and that's it! Madri Gras is all about expressing yourself in the most creative and outlandish way possible. There is no right way to dress up for Madri Gras as long as you wear traditional colors and a ton of jewelry. But don't forget to wear the most important thing ever, a smile!
4. Wear Masks
No, this is not a covid-19 tradition; it is a tradition to wear masks on Mardi Gras. Even at the beginning of Mardi Gras, people used to wear masks. Especially the parade krewes, wearing masks was a requirement for them. So to celebrate, you can buy the masks online or from shops and, better yet, make them yourselves. Yes, making your masks can be an enjoyable activity for your family and friends; it gives them the option to express themselves creatively while having fun!
5. Eating Cake!
Much like most celebrations, Mardi Gras is incomplete without cake, specifically King Cake. King Cake is a mandatory requirement for celebrating Mardi Gras. You can order this cake from your local bakery on Mardi Gras, or better yet, you can even make it at home.
The Biblical story of the three king's gifts to Baby Jesus is the inspiration behind the King Cake. And much like its name, it is pretty special. It is a cross between a cinnamon roll and coffee cake and is usually smothered with cream cheese frosting and fillings. It is decorated in the colors of Mardi Gras and contains a special surprise. The surprise is a baby toy hidden inside the cake. Now you see that it indeed is inspired by that Biblical story.
Whoever finds that baby in the cake is considered king for that day. Moreover, that person has to treat others to another cake or throw a party. It's like that gift that keeps on giving, in this case, a neverending party. Is that truly a bad thing?
6. Prepare Traditional Mardi Gras Food
Preparing and eating traditional Mardi Gras food is a must. Mardi Gras food has different kinds of cuisine mixed and embedded into it. It is heavily influenced by cuisines such as French, Spanish, and Cajun. Traditional Mardi Gras foods include items of seafood boil, dirty rice, cajun rice, and jambalaya.
Exciting Facts About Mardi Gras
- You cannot ride on floats without a mask, or at the very least, you must paint your face. Otherwise, it is considered to be illegal.
- "Throw me something, Mister!" say this phrase while a float passes by you to get a surprise.
- As part of the tradition, the Mayor of New Orleans gives Rex the key to the city.
- Some things thrown in Mardi Gras include Zulu Coconuts, Krewe of Iris sunglasses, and even shoes!
Now that you have a better idea of Mardi Gras and how to celebrate it, I hope I got you excited and made you look forward to it next year. So be ready to celebrate it with your custom-made masks, and don't forget the King Cake!
Mardi Gras Observances
|2021||Tuesday||16 February||Mardi Gras|
|2022||Tuesday||01 March||Mardi Gras|
|2023||Tuesday||21 February||Mardi Gras|
|2024||Tuesday||13 February||Mardi Gras|
|2025||Monday||24 March||Mardi Gras|
|2026||Tuesday||17 February||Mardi Gras|
We constantly update the dates of holidays that keep changing every year. However, while we revise and change some dates to be accurate, if you find any errors, kindly inform us . That will mean a lot to us.