Monday, March 2, 2009


Mardi Gras Facts
When did Mardi Gras begin?
Mardi Gras began about 5000 years ago as pagan spring festivals. In 1582 Pope Gregory XIII made it a Christian holiday. He put is on the Gregorian calendar as the day before Ash Wednesday, the first day of lent.
January 6 (Twelfth Night) is the beginning of Carnival Season. January 6 celebrates the arrival of the three kings after Jesus birth and the end of the Christmas celebration.

When is Mardi Gras?
Mardi Gras (Fat Tuesday) is the day before Ash Wednesday. It is the last day of Carnival Season. Lent begins on Ash Wednesday. Mardi Gras is 46 days before Easter. Mardi Gras changes every year because it is connected with Easter. Easter fall betweens March 23 and April 25.
North America’s first Mardi Gras

Mardi Gras in North America
When was Mardi Gras first celebrated in North America?
March 3, 1699, explorers found the mouth of the Mississippi River on Mardi Gras day of that year. They camped a few miles upriver, (about 60 miles south of New Orleans) named that place Point d'Mardi Gras and they celebrated. A couple of decades later, Bienville founded New Orleans. Soon Carnival celebrations began.

Mardi Gras Colors
What are the three Mardi Gras colors?
The traditional colors of Mardi Gras are purple (symbolic of justice), green (symbolic of faith) and gold (symbolic of power).

Louisiana celebrates Marid Gras
Is Mardi Gras only celebrated in New Orleans?
Mardi Gras is celebrated not only in New Orleans, but also in smaller cities and towns around the State. Natchitoches, New Roads, Thibodeaux, Baton Rouge are just a few.

Rural Acadian Mardi Gras
What is the traditional Cajun Mardi Gras?
Towns of Eunice, Mamou, and Church Point celebrate Mardi Gras with “The Courir de Mardi Gras” , men riding through the countryside, collecting ingredients for the evening gumbo. The all-male courir remains faithful to the old traditions
The men don costumes and masks and roam the area on horseback, stopping at homes to perform dances and comic antics in return for the gift of a chicken, a guinea, a pig, or another ingredient for a gumbo.

King Cake
What is a King Cake?
The origins can be traced to medieval France. The traditional cake would be baked with a bean or coin inside. Whoever got the slice with the hidden token was king for a day. Today, a plastic baby, symbolizing the Christ child, is baked in many cakes. The person who gets that slice is obligated to buy the next cake. The cakes are topped with icing in the traditional Mardi Gras colors.

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