It’s time for Mardi Gras, “The Greatest Free Show on Earth!” Mardi Gras is French for Fat Tuesday, which refers to the practice of eating richer, fatty foods the night before Ash Wednesday. The very first Mardi Gras celebration in 1703 was quite different than the celebrations today, but the emotions and festivities behind it all are very much the same. Even if you aren’t able to attend the glamorous balls and witness the exciting parades lit up by gaslight torches in New Orleans, you can celebrate with these Mardi Gras activities no matter where you are!
Decorate “Throws”, Coconuts, and Masks. “Throws” are the items people toss off of Mardi Gras parade floats. They often include doubloons, beads, cups, toys, and everyone’s favorite throw…the decorated COCONUT! The first step in bringing Mardi Gras home is decorating the colorful items you’re going to “throw.” Decorate some beads, doubloons, definitely some coconuts, and while you’re at it, decorate a mask for your big ball too.
Gather a band and start a “Krewe.” A “krewe” is a group that celebrates and parades together with matching outfits. And the best kind of a krewe is a musical krewe! We know not everyone has a banjo or trumpet in their back pocket, but most of us have mp3 players and smart phones that can blast great New Orleans style jazz, zydeco, and rock ‘n’ roll. And if you can find some friends that play instruments, then bonus points for authenticity! Either way, this is the easiest part about celebrating Mardi Gras at home. Find some Mardi Gras themed music/brass band music and gather as many friends as you can to create your own parade krewe!
Parade and eat some Mardi Gras Food. Now that you have your “throws” and you’ve formed your “krewe,” it’s time for FOOD! No explanation needed here, but there are a few Mardi Gras dishes that are a must have: King cake (with a plastic baby on the inside), fried chicken, beignets, shrimp or sausage po’ boy sandwiches, red beans and rice, and jambalaya. It’s all about finger foods you can eat while keeping the parading going. Don’t forget the napkins!
Costume Ball/Party. After the parade wraps up and food is all done, it's time to take a quick power nap. You’ll need that extra energy to help you power through the evening’s COSTUME BALL! You didn’t think we forgot about those masks you made earlier right? As per Mardi Gras tradition, the celebration can’t end without a ball. Make sure to dress in your Sunday best or a special costume you’ve prepared for the party. Put your mask on, enjoy some dancing, and celebrate your Mardi Gras night away with your friends and family!