Sticky Notes - The Big Easy: Celebrating Mardi Gras with Kids
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The Big Easy: Celebrating Mardi Gras with Kids

February 15, 2023 by Emily Moore

It's time to get jazzy!


Mardi Gras, French for “Fat Tuesday,” is celebrated annually on the Tuesday before Ash Wednesday which is the beginning of the Christian season of Lent. While it has religious origins, Mardi Gras has evolved into a major cultural and social event in some cities, notably New Orleans, Rio de Janeiro, and Venice. In these cities, Mardi Gras, also known as Carnival, is a weeks-long celebration with parades, music, dancing, masks, costumes, and, naturally, food! ​​​​​​​

In a typical year, the city welcomes more than a million visitors during the peak of Carnival season. Revelers enjoy the spectacle of elaborate floats and costumes, and everyone – literally everyone – sports beads or “throws” as they are known locally. If you’re lucky, you’ll get to sample at least one King Cake – the sweet, yeasted bread (like brioche) that’s generously dusted in the holiday’s signature colors of purple, green, and gold and is baked with a small plastic baby inside. According to tradition, whoever finds the baby in their slice of cake will enjoy good fortune and is declared “King for the Day!”


Anyone who’s not planning a trip to New Orleans this winter can have a party right at home: 

·       Set the tone by reading a book like Delphine Denise and the Mardi Gras Prize by Sawyer Cloud

·       Practice a few French words:

o   party – fête (FEH-t) 

o   mask – masque (MAH-sk)

o   necklace – collier (COOL-yay)

o   cake – gâteau (GAHT-owe)

o   baby – bébé (BAY-bay)

·       Dress up in costumes, masks, and all the beads you can find! (The more outrageous, the better!)

·       Turn up the music and dance your hearts out! You can’t go wrong with NOLA’s own Rebirth Brass Band or Dirty Dozen Brass Band!

·       Cook up a big pot of Southern Creole Okra "Gumbo" or Cajun "Étouffée" Stew!


Laissez les bon temps rouler! (lay-SAY le bon tom ROO-lay) or… Let the good times roll!  


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