Mardi Gras, or “Fat Tuesday,” has transformed into a cultural phenomenon over hundreds of years after originating as a religious holiday. Marking the last night of indulgence before the Lenten season, Fat Tuesday is known for its vibrant parades, floats, and eccentric celebrations. While the epicenter of Mardi Gras in America is New Orleans, Louisiana, turning your street into Bourbon Street is easier than you think with these tips:
Whip up some traditional Mardi Gras food
Beignets: Start your Fat Tuesday with New Orleans’ take on the donut. This fried dough
(with no hole) is topped with powdered sugar and will melt in your mouth while melting your heart.
King Cake: No party is complete without cake. King cake, however, isn’t your typical cake. Covered in the festive colors of Mardi Gras, this Mardi Gras essential even comes with a baby. Yes, a baby. Adding a King Cake to your Fat Tuesday celebration is easy with this recipe.
Jambalaya: No dish carries the essence of New Orleans quite like jambalaya. Jambalaya is a melting pot of ingredients and is prepared differently depending on where you’re cooking. This mix of meats and vegetables in rice is a staple meal in Cajun culture.
Look the part.
Masquerade Masks: Originally used to hide the identity of revelers, masks are a fun way to bring the French Quarter to your own Mardi Gras celebration. Grab your mask and party like it’s 1857.
Costumes: The Mardi Gras ensemble doesn’t end with the mask. Whether you are in New Orleans, Los Angeles, or Kalamazoo, you have to look the part before you can celebrate correctly. Throw on those purple, green, and gold colors and hit your town in style. If you’re feeling creative, here are some fun DIY costume ideas.
Parade with your “Krewe”: Mardi Gras is known for its elaborate parades. Organized by “Krewes,” these extravagant parades showcase the colorful history of New Orleans and Mardi Gras culture. Known for its “throws,” Mardi Gras parades include a tradition where Krewe members throw trinkets and beads at the crowd as they pass by. Round up your krewe, grab your beads, and hit the town.
Floats: Floats have been an integral part of the Mardi Gras parade since its inception over 100 years ago. While Krewes often spend thousands of dollars and many months preparing professional floats, these DIY floats can spice up your Mardi Gras celebration and is a great activity for kids!
Finding a Fat Tuesday near you.
Although nowhere rivals New Orleans during Mardi Gras, many other cities create their own rendition of Fat Tuesday. Check out this list of the best cities for celebrating Mardi Gras. If you aren’t ready to pack up and head to the French Quarter for the celebration, finding Mardi Gras celebrations near you is easier than you may think. Head over to Long Beach for this year’s Mardi Gras at Shoreline Village to experience the culture and cuisine of Fat Tuesday.