As Mardi Gras moves ever closer, it’s time to dive into some interesting facts about this holiday with Two Words the can mean so much. Whether you are joining us for Mardi Gras 2024 or Mardi Gras 2025, we invite you to learn about these fun details surrounding this amazing holiday.

Mardi Gra is traditionally a family event.

While this may come as a shock to many, especially those who have only seen videos on Bourbon Street, Mardi Gras is a celebration that is rooted in family and friends. Many of the events and parades of Mardi Gras are specifically Family-Friendly.  In many cases, families and communities man, host and run one of the dozens of parades within the area each year. The color, music and splendor of many of these parades are perfect for families to share in the fun and splendor.  Additionally, the cultural artwork shared during the holiday are welcoming and insightful for people of all ages. One specific family-friendly event is the Sunset Kidz Wagon Parade and another is the Eunice Lil Mardi Gras Parade.

Beads have a real meaning

There was a time before 1880 that many items, including food, dirt and rocks, were thrown from the float crews.  Fortunately, that is no longer the case.  Legend has it that a man in the 1880’s dressed as Santa Clause started began the tradition and it was such a hit that the other float teams did the same. These original beads were made with either threaded glass or small ornate carved wooden beads. Most beads are now made of plastics, but occasionally, an original style glass or wooden bead can be seen. If you happen to catch a group of natural beads, consider it a blessing as they take lots of time to make and are considered a fond rarity.

Mardi Gras is more than just parades

While most people think of parades when they think of Mardi Gras, there are plenty of other traditions. The King and Queen of each parade team (krewe) work all year long for the big, spectacular ball. Their identity is a closely guarded secret and part of the mystique until the night of the Ball.

Most of the balls are a formal and private affair for the krewe. Debutantes are introduced at the Ball Tableau as a formal introduction to society. In climbing the social ladder, children start by serving as pages to the court. Women dress in ball gowns and hope to be issued a “call-out” card. If a debutante is fortunate enough to receive one, she is seated in a select area and waits her turn to be “called out” for a dance by the krewe member who sent the card. This results in a night of dining and dancing with a prince in formal attire!

Attendance at the older, more aristocratic balls is by invitation only and is often tied directly to bloodlines and family herritage. No one really feels left out if they don’t receive an invitation, though. Many prominent people aren’t invited, including governors wanting to attend. Ball invitations were originally die-cut and printed in Paris.   Even today they can be quite colorful and valuable works of art. Invitations can also be collectors’ items framed for their beauty and considered interesting conversation pieces.

Mardi Gras is not Carnival

While it falls on the last day of Carnival, Mardi Gras is a signular day while Carnival is an entire season. Technically, “Mardi Gras” is the last Tuesday before Ash Wednesday and ushers in 40 days of best behavior during Lent, and “Carnival” is the season that begins on the Feast of Epiphany, January 6.

No matter your reason to visit, Mardi Gras is so much more than any specific thing.  There are literally dozens of parades and parties to choose from.  Between them all, there will always be something for anyone’s specific pallet.