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A Mardi Gras Celebration!
Mardi Gras kicks off this year on Fat Tuesday, February 28. It's an especially exciting and celebratory time to visit New Orleans (and Lake Charles, of course)! Get your beads and dancing shoes ready… We're going to explore some of the traditions that make Mardi Gras so much fun!
Just to be clear on the lingo, Carnival season is the length of time most people just refer to as ‘Mardi Gras.’ In fact, Mardi Gras is actually just one day, the last Tuesday before Ash Wednesday. For some, Mardi Gras is the last day of fun, feasting, and celebration before giving it all up until Easter. That's why many make a point to have a great time!
It's no surprise Mardi Gras has its own traditions, many of which are still followed strictly today. When it comes to music, Professor Longhair's "Go to the Mardi Gras" is hailed as the Mardi Gras anthem. Locals can't have a proper celebration without the song that is reminiscent of a parade heading your way.
If you're down in New Orleans for Mardi Gras, you're very likely to watch a parade go by. Groups that put on these parades are called krewe, pronounced just like "crew". They'll very likely throw plastic beads into the crowds, a tradition that began in the 1880s with a man dressed like Santa Claus. Legend has it the Santa Claus dressed man grew in popularity so quickly that the krewes began throwing beads as well. Before the beads, krewes threw random items including dirt and food. We think plastic beads are a lot more fun to catch!
Every celebration needs great food, and we all know the south knows how to serve up a great meal! Mardi Gras revelers will enjoy hearty jambalaya, a mix of seafood and pork sausage, creamy grits and even fried oysters. For a snack, Cajun boiled peanuts are flavored during a crab boil, making them even better than ordinary salted peanuts.
You don't have to be in New Orleans to celebrate Mardi Gras, though. The holiday is celebrated throughout Louisiana and other regions. You can visit the Cajun Mardi Gras in Lafayette or dance at the Baton Rouge Mardi Gras ball. You can even learn more about the holiday at the Mardi Gras Museum of Imperial Calcasieu in Lake Charles! Whatever you decide to do, we hope you have a wonderful Mardi Gras!