With the help of Cameron’s family we celebrated Mardi Gras. The children read
about the history, King Cakes, parades, costumes and masks and beads being thrown. The children truly enjoyed this special holiday, especially eating the King cake. To learn more about this event, please continue reading.
Mardi Gras History
The celebration of Mardi Gras was brought to Louisiana in 1699 from France where it had been celebrated since the Middle Ages. The New Orleans Carnival season, with roots in preparing for the start of the Christian season of Lent, starts after Twelfth Night, on Epiphany (January 6). It is a season of parades, balls (some of them masquerade balls), and king cake parties. Mardi Gras, or “Fat Tuesday”, is the last day of the Carnival season as it always falls the day before Ash Wednesday, the first day of Lent. The colors of Mardi Gras represent the following: Purple signifies Justice, Green signifies Faith and Gold signifies Power.
As part of New Orleans’ Christian faith, the coming of the wise men bearing gifts to the Christ Child is celebrated twelve days after Christmas on the Feast of Epiphany. People all over the world gather for this time of celebration, exchanging gifts and feasting. A popular custom was and still is the baking of a special cake in honor of the three kings, called “A King’s Cake.” Inside every cake is a tiny baby. The tradition of having King Cake Parties has evolved through time, and the person who receives the slice of cake with the baby is asked to continue the festivities by hosting the next King Cake party.
Mardi Gras Parades
Parades usually start about two weeks before Mardi Gras Day. There is one major parade each day; many days have several large parades. The largest and most elaborate parades take place the last five days of the season. Each Mardi Gras Parade Krewe has a unique history and theme. Some have been around for decades, while others have been in existence for just a few years. Some of the most well known krewes are Rex, Bacchus, Endymion and Zulu.
Costumes and Masks
Costumes and masks are frequently worn on Mardi Gras Day. Often families or groups of friends will dress alike in costumes based on a certain theme such as clowns, crayons or even their favorite characters from TV shows or movies.
Mardi Gras Parade Throws
Doubloons, beads, cups and much more! The throwing of trinkets to the crowds was started in the early 1870’s by the Twelfth Night Revelers, and is a time honored expectation for young and old alike.