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BellaOnline's Cajun & Creole Editor

Mardi Gras 101

Everyone loves to let their hair down and celebrate Mardi Gras or Fat Tuesday. Here are a few facts and terms to help you understand a few of the basics.

The Cajun Connoisseur From BellaOnline

Laissez le bon
temps rouler!

A Few Facts

The Mardi Gras season begins on Epiphany or Twelfth Night (January 6) and continues through Fat Tuesday, the day before Ash Wednesday.

Mardi Gras means "Fat Tuesday" - which is why it is celebrated on Tuesday!
Mardi Gras can fall between February 3 and March 9 and is always 47 days before Easter Sunday. Easy to figure out as it is the Tuesday before Ash Wednesday!


King Cake: A colorful sweet bread pastry formed into a ring. King Cakes traditionally appear on Twelfth Night (January 6th) and are enjoyed through Mardi Gras as a symbol of the festive season. The sugars decorating the top of the cake mirrors the colors of Mardi Gras: gold (yellow) for power, green for faith, and purple for justice. A little plastic baby Jesus is hidden in the cake after it is baked. It is customary for the finder of the baby (it used to be a bean) to purchase the next cake and to throw a party.

Krewe: A private organization that sponsors or 'puts on' a Mardi Gras ball and / or a parade.

Throws: The items that the krewes throw into the crowd! Krewes began 'throwing' trinkets into the crowd over 100 years ago. Today, they throw medallions depicting the parade theme on one side and the krewe's emblem on the other. Long strings of beads are also thrown into the crowd.

Maskers: Wearers of costumes and masks.

Second Line: Generally, the "second line" refers to the mass of people who follow behind the procession.

Go-cup: A plastic cup used for taking your alcoholic beverage of choice "to go". In New Orleans, you can legally drink on the streets as long as your beverage is in a plastic cup!

Den: Mardi Gras float warehouse.

Doubloons: Aluminum coins stamped with the parade krewe's insignia and theme.

Laissez le bon temp rouler: (Lazay Lay Bon Tom Roulay) - Let the good times roll!

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