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It's Mardi Gras!

Mardi Gras or Fat Tuesday (Mardi = Tuesday, Gras = Fat) is the final 'fling' before Ash Wednesday, which is the first day of Lent. Lent carries on for 40 days, and is a period of abstinence and repentance. Thus, Mardi Gras is one last night of revelry and debauchery before the period of self-restraint. 

When is the season of Lent?

This year, Lent begins on Ash Wednesday, which falls on the 5th of March this year, and ends on the eve of Easter Sunday, which falls on the 19th April. (Sundays are not included in the 40 day count). According to the Roman Catholic Church, Lent ends on 17th April, the Thursday before Good Friday.  

What are the colours of Mardi Gras?

While it is traditional to wear bright colours on this day, the official colours of Mardi Gras are purple, green and gold. Purple denotes justice, green denotes faith and gold denotes power. So get into Mardi Gras mood and wear the colours of the day! 

How is Mardi Gras celebrated?

Mardi Gras is essentially the last and most debauched day of the carnival and parade season. The most massive parade of the year is held through the streets of the city on this day, and the excitement in the air is palpable. New Orleans is famous for the Mardi Gras Parade. Performers pass by on their floats, and they throw 'throws' like beads, stuffed animals, and many other knick-knacks, into the crowd. Many children come with plastic bags to collect everything they can get their hands on. 

The most popular throws for adults are beads, and in order to get performers to throw beads in their direction, many people in the crowd flash the performers. While of course it is not compulsory to flash in order to get a throw, flashing certain increases your odds of getting a throw. Both men and women flash. However, Mardi Gras is essentially a family parade, and flashing only takes place when the parade passes by the notorious French Quarter. Children are not taken to the French Quarter, as here's where the parade starts dishing out some 'adult' entertainment. Flashing is illegal outside the French Quarter.

The revelry starts from Monday night, Mardi Gras Eve, and the night sees people pouring into the streets, in a manner similar to that as on New Years Eve. The celebratory spirit is the same. 

The parade carries on for around two weeks, while the carnival season lasts for two months. Both, the parade and the carnival season end on Mardi Gras. 

In addition to the parade, people celebrate Mardi Gras by hosting exclusive masked balls. Certain events are by invitation only, while others are hosted by five-star hotels, clubs etc. and are open to the public on purchase of passes. Many throw parties with Mardi Gras themes, and various sporting events and debutante activities are held during this time.

How can I throw a Mardi Gras party?

  • Ask everyone to stick to the colour theme of purple, gold and green.
  • Distribute beads, masks and funny hats at the entrance. 
  • Play 80's music. 
  • Serve fruit punch and root beer.
  • Serve authentic Mardi Gras food, which is Creole or Cajun cuisine.
  • Decorate the venue with beads, stars, toy clowns.
  • Use the theme colours for the decoration.

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