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Mardi Gras- What's It All About?


Mardi Gras- What's It All About?
Clip Art of a Mardi Gras Mask
© Dixie Allan

The origins of Mardi Gras can be traced to Medival Europe, though we have no written record of how that really transformed into the current Mardi Gras of today. But the origins of the Mardi Gras we celebrate today, with Kings, Mardi Gras colors and brass bands are traced to New Orleans.

The first Mardi Gras celebration in the U.S. on record was in Mobile, Alabama in 1703. The first recorded Mardi Gras parade in New Orleans was in 1837. Throughout the years, "Orleanians" have added to the celebration by establishing krewes (organizations) which host parades and balls. Carnival quickly became an exciting holiday for both children and adults.

Mardi Gras means “Fat Tuesday” and is celebrated on that day of the week. The date can fall between February 3 and March 9 depending on the Lunar calendar and is always 47 days before Easter Sunday.

The official colors for Mardi Gras are purple, green, and gold. These colors were chosen in 1872 by the King of Carnival, Rex. The colors represent the following - purple represents justice, green stands for faith and gold stands for power.

In 1875, Governor Warmoth of Louisiana signed the “Mardi Gras Act” making it a legal holiday in Louisiana, which is still is.

Most Mardi Gras Krewes today developed from private social clubs that have restrictive membership policies. Since all of these parade organizations are completely funded by its members, it’s often referred to as the “Greatest Free Show on Earth!”

A few interesting facts:

  • The most common phrase shouted by parade-goers is "Throw me somethin', Mister!"
  • Parades officially begin rolling on the second Friday before Mardi Gras.
  • The trinkets that are thrown during a parade are called "throws". These throws most often consist of plastic beaded necklaces, plastic cups, and doubloons.

Here is a link to Mardi Gras Clip Art

Here is a link to instructions on How to Download Images

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