#Whatsthe411: Top 10 Facts about Mardi Gras

Mardi Gras kicked off today with Fat Tuesday but did you know some of these really cool facts about the holiday and what Mardi Gras actually means. Check it out below:

10. Ash Wednesday
Mardi Gras is always the Tuesday before Ash Wednesday. Because individuals fast for lent, Mardi Gras or Fat Tuesday is considered the “last hoorah” before their 40 day fasting. In the past centuries, individuals spent Mardi Gras stuffing their faces with food and alcohol.

9. “Fat Tuesday”
Mardi Gras in French is apparently translated into “Fat Tuesday.” Some believe the name of the holiday comes from a fattened ox that was paraded on the streets before being sacrificed.

8. The Holiday is Global
In the US Mardi Gras is famous in New Orleans, but the holiday is actually celebrated around the globe too!!

7. Mardi Gras has official colors
The official colors for Mardi Gras are purple, green, and gold. The colors have meaning: purple represents justice, green is faith and gold symbolizes power.

6. Mardi Gras = Pancakes Day
In England, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, and Canada Mardi Gras is known as Pancake Day or “Pancake Tuesday” because the celebration specifically calls for eating pancakes to celebrate the holiday. In some countries, there are even pancake races to celebrate!! Say what?!

5. Mardi Gras is a Long Celebration
Although “Fat Tuesday” is famous, Mardi Gras is actually a long celebration. In fact, in some countries the celebration is six weeks and Mardi Gras is the culmination of the holidays. See, in some countries, the celebration starts on January 6 for the “Epiphany,” which celebrates the bringing of gifts to Jesus from the wise men.

4. King’s Cake
In some countries, King’s Cake – which is a wreath shaped purple, green, and gold cake – is eaten for six weeks! Talk about gaining weight! The traditional Mardi Gras food usually has a baby Jesus baked into it, and whoever eats the piece with the figurine is believed to have good luck for the rest of the year.

3. Parade Floats
The tradition of floats handing stuff out to Parade onlookers started in Renaissance Europe. Back then, parade participants received ale, meat, and even grain. Now it’s different, lol, which people throwing beads.

2. Beaded Necklaces
The tradition of throwing beaded necklaces started in the early 1900s, when a float had a Santa Claus throwing glass beaded necklaces into the crowd. It was such a hit, that it soon became a tradition, and that is exactly what Mardi Gras is known for today.

1. Boobs
The tradition of women baring their boobs to get beaded necklaces is fairly new. In fact, it only occurred in the past decade when women on Spring Break got too tipsy and started showing their stuff during the parade. Now, it’s totally synonymous.

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