Mardi Gras History

New Orleanians know how to throw a party! The city’s largest celebration, Mardi Gras, has been called “the greatest free show on Earth.” New Orleans Mardi Gras began in 1837, the year of the first street parade. The first day of the Carnival season is always January 6th (which is twelve days after Christmas). This is called the Twelfth Night and marks the beginning of the private masked balls that are held until Mardi Gras Day.

The Mardi Gras parades consist of floats holding the krewe members, who throw doubloons, beads and other items to the people lining the streets. Many “parade-goers”either wear a costume or purple, green and gold when attending the parades, and scream “Throw me somethin’ Mister!” to the krewe members on the floats. Marching bands and celebrities on floats are also included in the parades. Mardi Gras Day (which is always Fat Tuesday), is the last day of the carnival season. Many of the largest parades are held on this day.