Ten Things Tuesday – 16 Fevrier

16 Feb

Happy Mardi Gras to everyone! As they say in Carnival season, Laissez les bon temps rouler! In honor of all things French Quarter today, here are ten things to know about Mardi Gras:

1. Mardi Gras is the last day in Carnival season, which begins on January 6th, Epiphany. There are lots of parties and parades during this season, but this is the Big One. It is always the Tuesday before Ash Wednesday, marking the beginning of Lent.

2. Krewes (yes, that’s the correct spelling), are organizations that put on the parades and parties. They’re a really big deal. Kind of like being royalty. And it’s something you’re born into, you can’t just decide to join it. Most of them are named after Greek, Roman, or Egyptian gods. The most famous one is Rex, who is the King of Carnival.

3. The most prized of all Mardi Gras tokens is a coconut from the Zulu Krewe, which is the first parade of the day. If you are lucky enough to get one, consider yourself favored by God.

4. Mardi Gras is French for “Fat Tuesday.”

5. The Mardi Gras colors are purple, green, and gold. Purple represents justice, green represents faith, and gold represents power.

6. There is a big debate about whether Mardi Gras started in New Orleans or in Mobile, Alabama. Both cities want bragging rights for having started the greatest excuse to drink and wear glitter and feathers all day. We may never know the truth.

7. Flashing for beads is not a traditional practice, but has become popular lately.

8. Carnival is celebrated all over the world, and every country has its own traditions, of course.

9. King Cakes are the delicious treat served at most parties. There’s usually a token inside – a little plastic baby, a bean, or a doubloon – for someone to find. If you get it, you’re king or queen for the day, and you usually have to provide the cake for the next party. Or host the party.

10. It’s fun. And a great place to bond with everyone around you.

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