Parades, Coconuts & King Cake: Fun Facts About Mardi Gras

brightly colored floats in New Orleans' Mardi Gras paradeMardi Gras 2018 is Tuesday, February 13 and we are counting down the days! If you have never been to New Orleans for America’s greatest party then might we suggest you hop on booking your room at our inn now so you are sure not to miss out! While many have heard of Mardi Gras, the name of the party might be the extent of your knowledge. So, we thought that today we would give you the low down on this incredible event in New Orleans.

Fun Facts to Know About Mardi Gras:

  • Mardi Gras became a legal holiday in Louisiana in 1875. The event is the last Tuesday before Ash Wednesday, which is when 40 days of Lent begins. This Tuesday, called “Fat Tuesday,” is seen as a day to indulge and be festive before having to show “good behavior” for 40 days.
  • The first Mardi Gras parade was held in New Orleans on Feb. 24, 1857. You haven’t seen a parade until you’ve seen a Mardi Gras parade. Different “krewes” build large, elaborate and stunning floats that carry dozens of riders. When all of the participants are added up, you may see over 3000 people leading the parade. During the 12-day period leading up to Mardi Gras, nearly 70 parades are held in the area.
  • A highlight of the parades is the chance to catch colorful trinkets that are tossed from the floats. It is estimated that 25 million pounds of items get thrown into the crowds each year. An inside tip is to head to the end of the parade where the float-riders chuck all of their remaining treasures! To catch beads and trinkets, the locals yell out, “Throw me something, Mister!” The parades block off quite a few streets so come prepared do lots of walking and dress festively! Anything with purple, green or gold will do the trick—wear a mask or full costume, it’s up to you!
  • The French Quarter and Uptown parade route is the most popular go-to spot for Mardi Gras but many will attest that the Mid-City parade is one you don’t want to miss as it has stunning visuals and celebrity Grand Marshals. The krewe of Zulu also has an amazing parade and their Zulu coconuts are one of the most coveted souvenirs.
  • One of the most popular treats enjoyed at this time and found in bakeries everywhere is the king cake. It is a Danish pastry iced with the colors of Mardi Gras: purple, green, and gold. There is a tiny plastic baby hidden inside and if your slice has it, tradition is that you must buy the next cake or host the next party.

Now that you have some good inside scoop on Mardi Gras, you just need to come and experience it for yourself!

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