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Quick Facts About Mardi Gras

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What is Mardi Gras?

Mardi Gras is a carnival primarily held in New Orleans, but also all around the world. It’s the American version of the famous Carnival held in Rio de Janeiro. Today in the US, it is a legal holiday in Louisiana.

When is Mardi Gras?

Mardi Gras takes place the Tuesday before Ash Wednesday which marks the beginning of Lent. Mardi Gras is also known as Fat Tuesday.

What do the colors mean?

The primary colors of Mardi Gras are purple, green, and gold. Each color has their own meaning: purple is for justice, gold represents power, and green is for faith. The colors were decided by the Rex organization in 1872.

Who is Rex?

Rex was created by Lewis J. Salomon, a banker who created the persona. Rex is known as the “King of Carnival”, a symbolic “Monarch of Merriment”.

When was the first Mardi Gras?

The first Mardi Gras held in America took place on  March 3, 1699, but the tradition dates back thousands of years to pagan rituals celebrating spring and fertility.

Traditions of Mardi Gras

Participants wear masks so everyone blends in, abandoning any social restraints people may have.

Beads are thrown to the crowds that best represent their colors. But we know the real reason…

King Cake got its name from the biblical kings who celebrated the birth of Jesus. Some cakes will include a tiny plastic baby, which signals wealth and prosperity if found.

Flambeaux (flame torch) was used to see people at night when there was no electricity or poor lighting. Today, the city infrastructure has evolved and now incorporates LED lighting.

Zulu coconuts, also known as golden nuggets, are handed out as popular souvenirs. In the early 1900s, the coconuts were more affordable than the expensive glass beads. No two Zulu coconuts are the same.

 

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