Mardi gras trivia facts

10 Fun Facts About Mardi Gras

Laissez les bons temps rouler!

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!

Mardi Gras Trivia Quiz

Mardi Gras season is officially here. Woo Hoo! And we are Louisiana folk, so we are excited about all the upcoming festivities. The people at Fact Monster have an awesome and short quiz to see just how much you actually know about Carnival season here in the Bayou State.

Take the quiz, and pass it along to all your non Louisiana friends to show them what they are missing. No doubt they will want to come down for all the fun too. If you want to celebrate, and we know you do, there are fun and festive things to do every week up until Mardi Gras Day, which is February 28th this year. Here’s to a safe and fun carnival season!

Here’s a small preview of some of the questions:

  • What Does ‘Mardi Gras’ mean?
  • What is the religious name for Mardi Gras?
  • Many Mardi Gras events are organized by private clubs known as what?
  • What famous and historic neighborhood in New Orleans is Mardi Gras typically associated with?
  • What is hidden inside a Mardi Gras King Cake, the traditional dessert of the season?

The answers to these questions can be found here. Good luck on your Mardi Gras trivia, and here’s to screaming ‘Throw me somethin’ Mister!’ for the next couple of months! FYI, Fat Tuesday will be celebrated on February 28 this year.

“Mardi Gras” is almost synonymous with “New Orleans.” From the parades and the food to the music and the costumes, its imagery is recognized around the world. While part of a wider cultural celebration of festivity before the beginning of the Christian penitential season of Lent, Mardi Gras is still an event all its own.

Here, National Geographic Young Explorer Grantee Caroline Gerdes, who is conducting an oral history project of the city’s Ninth Ward, takes us through this iconic celebration, revealing what’s true and what’s false among some of the most common ideas about Mardi Gras.

By Caroline Gerdes
1. Mardi Gras is one day.
True!
Yes, Mardi Gras, or Fat Tuesday, is just one day. But, Carnival season lasts from Epiphany, Jan. 6, until the day before Ash Wednesday. Tourists expecting parades in the summer or fall will be disappointed.

2. Mardi Gras is the same date every year.
False!
Mardi Gras, like Easter, falls on a different date every year, depending on the vernal equinox.

3. It is customary to flash at Mardi Gras.
False!
Flashing is illegal at parades. If you get caught, you will most likely be arrested. Now, it does happen on Bourbon Street — I would wager generally by a tourist. But that kind of behavior is likely to anger locals in other parts of the city, especially at daytime parades. A simple shout of “Throw me something Mister” — or blowing a kiss — is all you need to get beads!

4. Mardi Gras is a family event.
True!
Yes, parades outside the French Quarter are intended for families. Standing in front of a child as a float passes goes against Mardi Gras etiquette. Be aware of the little ones around you and give them first dibs on throws.

5. People wear costumes at Mardi Gras.
True!
It is customary to wear costumes or satirical flair to a Mardi Gras parade — at least something in Mardi Gras colors purple, green or gold. Many groups costume together and Krewes, bands of people who ride in a parade, always wear a guise. Some walking Krewes have themed ensembles. Most notably, the historic Mardi Gras Indians spend months creating intricate feather beaded suits.

6. Only beads are thrown at Mardi Gras.
False!
While beads are the most common Carnival catch, one may also collect stuffed animals, garders, flowers, doubloons, Moon Pies or a signature throw. The Krewe of Zulu, for example, is famous for its painted and bejeweled coconuts.

7. A king cake baby represents the baby Jesus.
True!
I told this story in an earlier post!
8. Mardi Gras ends at Midnight on Fat Tuesday.
True!
At midnight the party is over and Lent, a time of penatence begins. This rule is taken seriously, parades stop rolling, some bars close and the street sweepers start cleaning up.

9. Mardi Gras’ success is measured in trash.
True!
After the party ends at midnight, street sweepers collect trash from the day’s parties and parades. The refuse is weighed and compared against previous years’ waste to measure the success of the year’s Mardi Gras.

10. There’s a meaning behind the Mardi Gras colors.
True!
The Mardi Gras colors purple, green and gold represent justice, faith and power, respectively. They also have become symbols for the state of Louisiana with Louisiana State University’s colors in purple and gold and Tulane University in green.

Have any other Mardi Gras questions? Feel free to contact me at [email protected] or tweet me @carolineceleste.
Learn More
Read All Caroline Gerdes’ Posts

Fat Tuesday is a day that you can eat all the sweets and fatty foods you like! But how it all started?

Let’s find some trivia and facts about this day!

  1. Mardi Gras or Fat Tuesday, refers to events of the Carnival celebration, beginning on or after the Christian feasts of the Epiphany
  2. And culminating on the day before Ash Wednesday
  3. Mardi Gras is French for “Fat Tuesday”
  4. Reflecting the practice of the last night of eating rich, fatty foods
  5. Before the ritual fasting of the Lenten season
  6. Related popular practices are associated with Shrovetide celebrations before the fasting and religious obligations associated with the penitential season of Lent
  7. In countries such as the United Kingdom, Mardi Gras is also known as Shrove Tuesday
  8. It is derived from the word shrive
  9. Meaning “to administer the sacrament of confession to/ to absolve”
  10. Some think Mardi Gras may be linked with the ancient Roman pagan celebrations of spring and fertility such as Saturnalia
  11. Which dates back to 133- 31 B.C.
  12. This celebration honored the god of agriculture, Saturn
  13. It was observed in mid- December
  14. Before the sowing of winter crops
  15. It was a week- long festival when work and business came to a halt
  16. Schools and courts of law closed
  17. The normal social patterns were suspended
  18. On the Julian calendar, which the Romans used at the time, the winter solstice fell on December 25
  19. Hence, the celebration gradually became associated with Christmas
  20. The festival is more commonly associated with Christian tradition
  21. In the Gospel of Matthew the biblical Magi visited Jesus with gifts containing gold, frankincense, and myrrh
  22. So on the twelfth day of Christmas, Christians celebrate the feast of Epiphany
  23. A celebration of Jesus coming for more than just the Jews
  24. This begins the Carnival celebration which continues until the day before Ash Wednesda
  25. The culmination of this celebration overlapped with the beginning of Lent
  26. Early Christians believed that during the Lenten season, Christians should deprive themselves of anything that brought joy so that they might understand better the trials that Jesus faced leading up to his death on Good Friday
  27. Thus, on the Tuesday before Lent and the last day of Epiphany, Christians would celebrate with a feast of their favorite foods to tide them over the coming weeks
  28. These feasts, which first were only meant for Christians, were expanded so that Christians would celebrate with their neighbors and friends
  29. Slowly, feasts like Shrove Tuesday became public celebrations
  30. They adapted many names and traditions as they spread
  31. The festival season varies from city to city
  32. As some traditions, such as the one in New Orleans, Louisiana, consider Mardi Gras to stretch the entire period from Twelfth Night to Ash Wednesday
  33. Others treat the final three- day period before Ash Wednesday as the Mardi Gras
  34. In Mobile, Alabama, Mardi Gras is associated with social events begin in November, followed by mystic society balls on Thanksgiving, then New Year’s Eve
  35. Followed by parades and balls in January and February, celebrating up to midnight before Ash Wednesday
  36. In earlier times, parades were held on New Year’s Day
  37. Other cities famous for Mardi Gras celebrations include Rio de Janeiro; Barranquilla, Colombia; George Town, Cayman Islands; Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago; Quebec City, Quebec, Canada; and Mazatlán, Sinaloa, Mexico
  38. Carnival is an important celebration in Anglican and Catholic European nations
  39. In the United Kingdom and Ireland, the week before Ash Wednesday is called “Shrovetide”, ending on Shrove Tuesday
  40. It has its popular celebratory aspects, as well
  41. Pancakes are a traditional food
  42. Pancakes and related fried breads or pastries made with sugar, fat, and eggs
  43. They are also traditionally consumed at this time in many parts of Latin America and the Caribbean
  44. While not observed nationally throughout the United States, a number of traditionally ethnic French cities and regions in the country have notable celebrations
  45. Mardi Gras arrived in North America as a French Catholic tradition with the Le Moyne brothers
  46. Pierre Le Moyne d’Iberville and Jean-Baptiste Le Moyne de Bienville
  47. In the late 17th century, when King Louis XIV sent the pair to defend France’s claim on the territory of Louisiane
  48. Which included what are now the U.S. states of Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana and part of eastern Texas
  49. The city’s celebration begins with “12th night,” held on Epiphany, and ends on Fat Tuesday
  50. The season is peppered with various parades celebrating the city’s rich French Catholic heritage

Five Fun Fat Tuesday Facts We Figure You’ve Never Heard Before

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Everybody knows what a boeuf gras is and what you have to do if you get the king cake baby. We thought we’d throw you a few doubloons of trivia you’ve probably never heard before.

1

Did you know that New Orleanians use the souvenir cups the krewes throw as measuring cups year round? Some recipes call for “One Mardi Gras cup of milk.” No kidding!

2

Good Will doesn’t get as many “gently used shoes” during Carnival season. Members of the Muses krewe send out requests via Facebook to their friends starting in January, asking them to empty out their closets – it’s shoe decorating time!

3

Diets don’t start after New Year’s in New Orleans. They start after Mardi Gras. Weight Watcher enrollment doesn’t go up as much in January in New Orleans as it does in other places.

4

Obstetricians have been known to schedule C-sections around Mardi Gras. No pregnant couple wants to be stuck behind a float caravan on the I-10.

5

Showing your “you know whats” during Mardi Gras won’t garner you as many beads as holding up an adorably dressed baby, so if you’re thinking of leaving your kids home when you come, don’t! There’s a family side to Mardi Gras. Come discover it!


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Shrove Tuesday facts

Every year we celebrate Shrove Tuesday, or as you may know it…Pancake Day!

But what is the meaning behind this special day? How and why is it celebrated around the world? It’s time to find out with our ten Shrove Tuesday facts!

1) Shrove Tuesday is a Christian festival celebrated in many countries across the globe. It falls on the Tuesday before the beginning of Lent – a period of around six weeks leading up to Easter. During Lent, Christians give up luxuries to remember when Jesus went into the desert for 40 days to fast and pray.

2) The exact date of Shrove Tuesday changes from year to year. But one thing stays the same — it’s always 47 days before Easter Sunday. And yes, you guessed it, it’s always on a Tuesday!

3) The name comes from the old word ‘shriving’, which means to listen to someone’s sins and forgive them. In Anglo-Saxon England, Christians would go to church on Shrove Tuesday to confess their sins and clean their soul. In other words, they would be ‘shriven’.

4) In the United Kingdom, Ireland, Australia and Canada, Shrove Tuesday has another name… Pancake Day! Traditionally during Lent, Christians would give up rich, tasty foods such as butter, eggs, sugar and fat (some Christians continue to do so, in fact). Shrove Tuesday was the last chance to eat them – and what better way to do so than with a delicious pancake!

5) Today, people continue to whisk up these yummy treats on Shrove Tuesday — and they add all kinds of tasty toppings, too, such as fruit, honey, chocolate and ice cream! But check this out; pancakes aren’t only for eating during this fab festival — people race with them, too!

6) Pancake races are a super-fun Shrove Tuesday tradition. In this mad-cap activity, people race each other whilst tossing a pancake in a pan. Today, pancake races are often organised to raise money for charity and help those in need. Awesome!

7) Now, the big question — where did this wacky tradition come from? The story goes that it originated way back in 1445, in the town of Olney in Buckinghamshire, England. A woman was so busy making pancakes that she lost track of time. When she heard the church bells ringing for the Shrove Tuesday mass, she ran as fast as she could to make it, and arrived still carrying her pancake in the pan!

8) Pancakes have become such a popular Shrove Tuesday tradition that on this day, a whopping 52 million eggs are used in the UK alone! That’s 22 million more than your average day. Egg-citing stuff!

9) In other countries, Shrove Tuesday has different names. In Germany, for example, it’s called ‘Fastnacht’ (meaning ‘Eve of the Fast’) and in Iceland it’s called ‘Sprengidagur’ (meaning ‘Bursting Day’). In France and some other parts of the world, the festival is called ‘Mardi Gras’, from the French phrase meaning ‘Fat Tuesday’. And for many people, Mardi Gras means party time…

10) Lots of cities around the world celebrate Mardi Gras with vibrant street parties featuring live bands, colourful parades, and elaborate fancy-dress costumes! Some of the world’s largest and most famous Mardi Gras celebrations take place in New Orleans in the USA, Rio de Janeiro in Brazil and Venice in Italy.

Perfect pancake recipe!

Fancy joining in the fab pancake fun? Then get whisking and flipping with this six-step pancake recipe.

What you’ll need:

100g plain flour
2 eggs
300ml semi-skimmed milk
Pinch of salt
1tbsp sunflower/vegetable oil
Butter for frying
Bowl
Whisk/fork
Frying pan
Ladle
Fish slice
Yummy toppings – such as lemon, chocolate spread, marshmallows, fruit, or whatever you fancy!

  • 1) Take a bowl and pour in the milk and oil, then break in the eggs. Now take the whisk and beat the ingredients together to make a frothy mixture.
  • 2) Once that’s done, take another bowl and mix together the flour and a pinch of salt with your hands. Messy!
  • 3) Now slowly pour the liquid into the middle of the flour mixture, whisking all the time, until the batter you’re making is quite runny. If it’s a little lumpy, keep whisking away until your pancake mix is nice and smooth!
  • 4) With an adult’s help, warm the frying pan to a medium heat, then add a little butter. Once it’s melted, ladle in enough pancake mix to cover the bottom of the pan, then tilt it in a circular motion so the mix spreads evenly. Now you’re cooking!
  • 5) Now for the fun bit! When your pancake starts to brown underneath, hold the pan handle in one hand, slide the spatula under the pancake and flip it over. Next, ask an adult to help you flip it the fancy way!
  • 6) Repeat steps one to four for each pancake and stack them high! Traditional toppings are lemon juice and sugar. But you can also try chocolate spread, peanut butter, fruit, honey, whipped cream or a healthy dollop of yogurt. Tuck in and enjoy!

27 Fun Mardi Gras Quotes

Put down the beignets and the bourbon and customize Mardi Gras shirts for your whole celebratory crew! Show up to the parades in custom t-shirts, tanks, and more. Need some inspiration for your custom gear? Check out our Mardi Gras quotes below. If you see something that is worthy of some beads, customize t-shirts for everyone.

    Meet me by the bayou.

    Laissez les bons temps rouler.

    Throw me the beads!

    Hit me with your best beads.

    Keep calm and throw on.

    I like big beads and I cannot lie.

    It’s great to be king.

    Fat Tuesday is the best Tuesday.

    What happens at Mardi Gras stays at Mardi Gras.

    All about that beads.

    Pour me something, mister.

    I’m no saint.

    Joie de vivre.

    This mask can’t hide my crazy.

    Let the good times roll.

    Nobody puts baby in the king cake.

    Confetti in my hair, cocktail in my hand.

    Crazy for Creole.

    “It’s in our soul to have Mardi Gras.” — Arthur Hardy

    Beads are a girl’s best friend.

    Let’s get jazzy.

    Let them eat king cake.

    I came for the beignets.

    I’m with the band.

    I like to parade my crazy.

    New Orleans new me.

    Beads & drinks & creole & jazz & voodoo.

Design Your Own Mardi Gras T-shirts

19 Instagram Caption Ideas For All Your Mardi Gras Celebration Needs

Mardi Gras New Orleans festivities are heating up. While Shrove Tuesday isn’t until March 5th, plenty of people have begun partying. If you’re celebrating a Mardi Gras weekend 2019, you’re going to take a ton of pictures. Between the elaborate parades and the masquerade balls, there’s a lot to take in, and you’re going to need some clever Mardi Gras Instagram captions.

The people of Bourbon Street don snazzy Mardi Gras attire, show off impressive Mardi Gras face paint, and pile on beads by the dozen. And did we mention the food? You’re going to be eating tons of traditional New Orleans dishes like boiled crawfish, gumbo, jambalaya, po’boys, and beignets. That’s no surprise, considering the city is one of the best places to travel for good eats and delicious Instagram-worthy brunches. But even if you’re just attending a Mardi Gras parade in your hometown or snacking on ALL of the King Cake, you’re going to need some great captions for your pics.

Fortunately, there are lots of Mardi Gras sayings that make for great caption ideas for Instagram. And, like we said: You don’t need to party down on the famous Bourbon Street in NOLA to have a great Mardi Gras. All you need is a yummy King Cake, some strong cocktails, and a ton of beads. However you celebrate, these clever Mardi Gras Instagram captions will make it clear that you’re the life of the party (gras).

1. “Beads and bling: It’s a Mardi Gras thing.”

There are two must-haves for every Mardi Gras outfit: beads and bling. Show off yours!

2. “King Cake calories don’t count.”

Truer words have never been spoken. Incidentally, beignet calories don’t count, either.

3. “Life of the Mardi.”

Life of the party? More like, life of the Mardi.

4. “Everywhere else, it’s just Tuesday.”

This Instagram caption is perfect for your Fat Tuesday day-of celebration. Because everywhere else, it’s just Tuesday.

5. “Throw me something!”

And make it beads, please! Lots and lots of beads.

6. “Laissez les bons temps rouler, bienvenue.”

Translation: Let the good times roll, y’all. This one is as Louisianan as it gets.

7. “There is nothing King Cake can’t fix.”

Truly. Nothing.

8. “Beads or it didn’t happen.”

Got beads? Show ’em off!

9. “Beignet, done that.”

We love a good food-based pun. If you celebrate Mardi Gras in N’awlins, you’ll definitely have a few beignets.

10. “Welcome, tourist.”

If you’re a NOLA local, it’s okay to have some fun with tourists. They’re everywhere this time of year.

11. “It’s Carnival time!”

The lead-up to Mardi Gras is also called Carnival. Have we mentioned that we LOVE King Cake?

12. “New year, new me…after Mardi Gras.”

Just when you thought you’d implemented your New Year’s resolutions to eat well and exercise, along came Mardi Gras. That’s okay, there’s always next month.

13. “We don’t hide crazy, we parade it down the street.”

You never know what you’re going to see at a Mardi Gras parade. That’s why this is the perfect caption.

14. “Five Eaux Feaux.”

This is a tongue-in-cheek way to say “504,” a.k.a. the New Orleans area code. It’s a great caption if you’re hanging in the “five eaux feaux.”

15. “Will run for King Cake.”

Like we said, King Cake calories don’t count. But we’re still willing to run for a slice if necessary.

16. “Mardi craw.”

Save this one for your pics from a crawfish boil. Yum!

17. “Rue Bourbon.”

“Rue Bourbon,” which translates to “Bourbon Street,” is the center of all the action in the French Quarter. Captioning your pics from Bourbon Street with the French spelling is a must.

18. “The best things in life are meant to be shared. Especially King Cake.”

You can never post too many pics of King Cake. Especially if you get the piece with the baby.

19. “Happy Mardi Gras!”

Simple, effective, and to the point. Be sure to throw in a fleur de lis emoji for good measure.

However you’re celebrating, these fun Mardi Gras Instagram captions are sure to be a hit on your feed. Laissez les bons temps rouler!

Whether you’re celebrating Mardi Gras on the streets of New Orleans among the sea of green, purple, and yellow floats, or biting into a delicious king cake in the comfort of your own home, there’s no doubt it’s an entertaining occasion. So entertaining, in fact, that social media is flooded with photos of the Fat Tuesday festivity every year. If you’re planning to post your commemorative moments on Instagram this carnival season, you’ll need Mardi Gras sayings fit for the perfect caption. But, where to being? Don’t fret. We’ve got you covered with some of the best Mardi Gras sayings and quotes that are sure to make all of your friends and family “like” the photo. Whether you want something classic, clever, or funny, there’s a little something for everyone. Now, let’s get jazzy.

Mardi Gras Sayings

What happens on the float, stays on the float.

Leave a little sparkle wherever you go.

Everywhere else it’s just Tuesday.

Beads and bling. It’s a Mardi Gras thing.

From bead to shining bead.

We don’t hide the crazy. We parade it down the street.

Laissez les bons temps rouler – Let the good times roll.

Hey mister, throw me one of those.

I’ve been put under the NOLA spell.

Keep calm and throw on.

Fat Tuesday is the best Tuesday.

It’s great to be king.

Let’s get jazzy.

Let them eat king cake.

What happens at Mardi Gras stays at Mardi Gras.

Mardi Gras Quotes

Mardi Gras is the love of life. It is the harmonic convergence of our food, our music, our creativity, our eccentricity, our neighborhoods, and our joy of living. All at once. — Chris Rose

It’s a great party, and anyone who doesn’t enjoy Mardi Gras is not of this world. — Franklin Alvarado

Mardi Gras is a state of mind. — Ed Muniz

An American has not seen the United States until he has seen Mardi Gras in New Orleans. — Mark Twain

Life is either a daring adventure or nothing at all. ? Helen Keller

The purpose of life is to live it, to taste experience to the utmost, to reach out eagerly and without fear for newer and richer experience. ? Eleanor Roosevelt

There’s no place like New Orleans. – Harry Connick, Jr.

If you love New Orleans, she’ll love you back. – Drew Brees

You can live in any city in America, but New Orleans is the only city that lives in you. – Chris Rose

New Orleans is unlike any city in America. Its cultural diversity is woven into the food, the music, the architecture — even the local superstitions. It’s a sensory experience on all levels and there’s a story lurking around every corner. — Ruta Sepetys

It’s in our soul to have Mardi Gras. — Arthur Hardy