What Is Mardi Gras?

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Some of my Mardi Gras beads.

I’m a Louisiana girl, born and raised, so Mardi Gras is something I know well. Many schools in the state have a holiday break from 3 days to like me (yes I know, lucky!) an entire week to celebrate.

Even if you don’t live in Louisiana or one of the nearby states that have parades and celebrations, you can still enjoy this little piece of Louisiana and share it with your students! Here are some things you can share with your class!

Mardi Gras is French for Fat (gras) Tuesday (mardi). The colors of the day are purple which stands for justice, green for faith, and gold for power. Many of the parade floats, costumes, throws, and food items have these colors in them.

Krewes – These are the organizations with members who put on parades. Many of these groups do charitable work throughout the year. The members pay dues to be in these carnival clubs.

Throws – Many Krewes or individual parades have special throws, or things tossed to parade-goers. The Zulu parade is famous for painted coconuts. Doubloons, or colorful coin shaped throws, are prized items as they are unique to the Krewe or king of that year’s parade. Plastic cups, beads/necklaces, and even stuffed animals are also given out.

King Cakes – A big part of the carnival season, which runs from January 6 to the day before Ash Wednesday, is the King Cake. It’s a delicious, sweet treat. Each treat has a hidden plastic baby inside. Tradition holds that the finder of the baby bring the next cake. They can be filled with cinnamon, cream cheese, or fruits like strawberry and cherry.

You can search Pinterest for many recipes, but here’s one from a woman that lives here: Holly Clegg’s King Cake recipe using Pillsbury crescent rolls

She’s even got a short YouTube video showing basically how she puts it together.

 

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