... That's Cajun French for "Let the good times roll!" Mardi Gras is here and whether you've celebrated the iconic tradition for years and years or are relatively new to the idea then this blog post is for you! We sat down with Christina, one of our fabulous sales associates at the Moon and Lola flagship store and Louisiana native, for a little Q+A sesh to get the scoop on all things Mardi Gras. Enjoy!
What is Mardi Gras?
Mardi Gras is French for "Fat Tuesday," and it represents the last day of the Carnival season and celebration before the Holy Period of Lent begins on Ash Wednesday. Mardi Gras is full of tradition and celebration!
Photo: Valerie Esparza
Why is it an annual event in Louisiana?
Carnival season and Mardi Gras occur in Louisiana because the state was originally colonized by the French Catholics. New Orleans and South Louisiana, with their unique French heritage, celebrate each year with parades, masquerade balls, picnics, parties, and of course King Cakes.
What is the tradition of King Cake?
It's a tradition celebrated at offices, schools, and family gatherings for the entire Mardi Gras season. This festive Mardi Gras dessert is a blend of coffee cake and a cinnamon roll topped with purple, green, and gold icing or sugar. Each King Cake has a tiny baby inside (generally made from plastic nowadays, but traditionally it would have been made from porcelain or even gold). The lucky person who receives the slice of cake with the baby has the responsibility of holding the next King Cake party, or brings the next King Cake for the office.
There are many famous bakeries in Louisiana that bake and serve King Cakes. A few that come to mind are:
Since moving here to North Carolina, I've found that the best (and most authentic!) King Cake is served locally at La Farm Bakery in Cary.
Photo: The Kitchn
If you're feeling up for the challenge and want to make a King Cake yourself, you might want to give this recipe from The Kitchn a try!
What does Mardi Gras mean to you?
I was born and raised in South Louisiana and Mardi Gras has always been such a special, fun, colorful, and festive season to me! It's a holiday about religion and tradition that brings families, friends, and neighbors together to celebrate. It's about the music, parades, food, balls, debutantes, masquerades, masks, and costumes. Mardi Gras is so deeply rooted in every Louisianian and in many cultures around the world. It runs through my blood!
Which Mardi Gras traditions are the most memorable to you?
Some of the fondest memories of my youth were catching beads, doubloons (coins), and throws (trinkets), along the parade route. Most of which I still have today! Getting home after the parade with your family and friends and going through all the bags of treasures caught from above is still one of my favorite pastimes. The best way to catch items from a float is to make eye contact with a rider and yell, "Throw me something, Mister!" The most prized throws are the krewes' signature throws. "Krewe" is the word used to describe social organizations taking part in the Mardi Gras festivities. One of the most famous krewes, Zulu, throws out hand-decorated coconuts!
Photo: Valerie Esparza
Mardi Gras is the largest masked party in North America. Masks add an element of mystery, glamour, and intrigue when worn, especially around this particular holiday in the city. Each mask is unique and the creations are endless! I've collected Mardi Gras masks for as long as I can remember. A fun tradition my husband and I share is that each year he'll surprise me with a unique Mardi Gras treasure to add to my collection.
Photo: Rebecca Todd
Laissez les bon temps rouler!
Let the good times roll!
As always, thanks for stopping by and Happy Mardi Gras!
Moon & Lola