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Mardi Gras is the annual, fun-filled celebration of New Orleans-fame that commemorates the final days before Lent.
The term Mardi Gras literally means "fat Tuesday," the day before Ash Wednesday. This long-standing European tradition (also known as "carnival") was brought to Louisiana by the French in the late 1600s.
By the 1850s, krewes (organizations) were formed to help preserve Mardi Gras through planning, management, and organization. The idea worked, and today these krewes continue to host a multitude of parades, balls, and other Mardi Gras events — keeping the tradition of spectacular floats, colorful throw beads, and tasty king cakes alive and well.
Recipes for a Mardi Gras mood
This carnival season, try your hand at some Louisiana favorites to get into the celebratory spirit. And what's for dessert? Mardi Gras king cake, of course.
New Orleans Shrimp Jambalaya
Quick Catfish Gumbo
Easy Shrimp Gumbo
Red Beans, Rice And Cajun Turkey
Quick facts about Mardi Gras
- The official colors of Mardi Gras are purple, green, and gold. Purple for justice, green for faith, and gold for power.
- The carnival of Mardi Gras is celebrated throughout the state of Louisiana — and also in Alabama and Florida.
- Mardi Gras attracts more than a half-million visitors a year to the New Orleans area.
- There are currently nearly 40 New Orleans krewes alone. (This number continually changes from year to year.)