Mardi Gras (Fat Tuesday)
Mardi Gras is French for Fat Tuesday and it means you should pig-out on this day. How did this holiday start? We have the scoop!
What Is It?
Mardi Gras is French for Fat Tuesday. This holiday is sometimes called Shrove Tuesday, as well (or Pancake Tuesday in the UK). In 2012, Mardi Gras falls on February 21. The holiday is for celebrating and eating anything and everything. The following day is Ash Wednesday, which is the beginning of Lent (a 40 day period when Christians give up something they enjoy leading up to Easter). Although Mardi Gras began as the last day to indulge in food and drink before the fasting period of Lent, it has since evolved into a big festival celebrated by people around the world.
New Orleans, Louisiana has the biggest party of any American town. It all started when French explorers celebrated the holiday on the Mississippi River and the party grew from there. Today it's become a public holiday and is widely celebrated. Bourbon Street in New Orleans has the biggest festivities, parades and probably the most food and drinks. It's tradition to wear Mardi Gras beads and to give them out. Store owners on Bourbon Street put Vaseline on poles and columns to keep wild partiers from climbing them!
Did U Know?
- Groups who organize Mardi Gras balls and parades are called krewes.
- A Mardi Gras tradition is to bake a King Cake. It is made from a sticky dough and is covered in colored icing or sprinkles that represent the colors of Mardi Gras - green for faith, gold for power, and purple for justice.
- Small plastic babies are baked into King Cakes. Whoever gets the slice of the cake with the baby in it is crowned King or Queen of Mardi Gras and is responsible for hosting a party the following year (and for baking the King Cake!).
Have Your Say
Have you ever celebrated Mardi Gras? Let us know your fun party ideas!