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10 Fun Facts About Mardi Gras

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Mardi Gras Parade
Photo by Cheryl Gerber/Getty Images

Tomorrow is Mardi Gras! In honor of the celebratory holiday, we thought we’d do a little research and give you ten fun facts you might not know about it’s origins and traditions!

 

MARDI GRAS IS ALWAYS THE TUESDAY BEFORE ASH WEDNESDAY

Mardi Gras means “Fat Tuesday” in French. With Ash Wednesday marking the beginning of Lent, a 40 day period of fasting before Easter, Mardi Gras is the “last hurrah” of sorts, with participants indulging in their favorite fatty foods and drinks before giving them up.

 

MARDI GRAS MARKS THE END OF CARNIVAL SEASON

Countries around the world celebrate Mardi Gras as the last day of Carnival season, which starts after Christmas, on January 6th, (known as ‘Twelfth Night’).

 

MARDI GRAS IS ALSO KNOWN AS “PANCAKE DAY”

In Ireland, England, Australia, New Zealand, and Canada, people celebrate Mardi Gras by eating pancakes and particpating in pancake themed activities.

 

THE OFFICIAL COLORS OF MARDI GRAS ARE PURPLE, GOLD, AND GREEN

Purple signifies justice, gold means power, and green stands for faith.

 

KING’S CAKE IS EATEN ALL THROUGHOUT CARNIVAL SEASON

King’s cake (or three kings cake), is eaten throughout the world during carnival season. In the US, it is traditionally purple, green, and gold, with a trinket baby Jesus inside. Whoever gets the baby Jesus is said to have good luck all year!

 

THE FIRST NEW ORLEANS MARDI GRAS PARADE WAS 177 YEARS AGO

New Orleans has been celebrating Fat Tuesday with parades since 1837. The first floats appeared in the parade in 1857.

 

PARADES ARE PLANNED BY ‘KREWES’

Krewes are organizations that puts on a parade and/or a ball for Mardi Gras/Carnvial. They are clubs of a sort, with dues ranging from $20 to thousands of dollars annually. Krewes are also responsible for selecting carnival royalty in New Orleans, such as ‘Rex’, the king of Mardi Gras.

 

MASKS ARE REQUIRED BY LAW FOR FLOAT RIDERS

Yep, it’s illegal to ride on a float without a mask! The original purpose of the mask was to get rid of social constraints for the day, allowing people to mingle with whomever they chose.

 

BEADS HAVE BEEN A TRADITION SINCE THE EARLY 1900’s

Beads were first thrown by Santa during a parade in the early 1900’s. It wasn’t until a few decades ago that they became synonymous with flashing. People also throw stuffed animals, toys and more.

 

MARDI GRAS IS A STATE HOLIDAY IN SOME PLACES

Fat Tuesday is an official state holiday in Alabama, (the home of the first Mardi Gras paradeand 2nd biggest current celebration), Florida, and parts of Louisiana. Although it’s not a state holiday in Texas, Galveston is home to one of the biggest celebrations in the country!

 

Have you celebrated Mardi Gras anywhere this year? Tweet me @DaniOnUS105, or use #US105 in your Instagram pics!

 

See Hunter Hayes Dig Into Kings Cake

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