Let the “Mardi Party” begin!

Tuesday, February 12th marks this years Mardi Gras celebration.  You can start-up the festivities today as many will ring in Fat Tuesday, as Lundi Gras is a big night for music and parties.

mardigrasneworleans.com

Mardi Gras, also known as “Fat Tuesday” in French, Shrove Tuesday, Carnival, or Pancake Day in the UK, is an annual festival celebrated today.  It falls on the eve of Lent, traditionally marking the last opportunity for fun and feasting before 40 days of “self-denial”.

grace

The modern Carnival tradition developed in Europe in the Middle ages, and is celebrated mainly in Roman Catholic communities in Europe and the Americas today. Some of the most famous celebrations are held in Nice (France), Cologne (Germany), Rio de Janeiro (Brazil) and New Orleans (USA).  To learn more about the Mardi Gras history and its traditions, click here.

One of my favorite traditions on this holiday is to enjoy beignets!  You can make these yourself, just grab a brown bag, some powder sugar and a Cafe Du Monde pre-made mix.

If you are local, you can run over to the Downtown Disney District and get a brown bag full of them at Ralph Brennans Jazz Kitchen…sure you can dine in and enjoy the live jazz and fab jumbalaya…or you can grab a bag at their takeout window right next store…too easy!  Check your local bakeries too!

rbjazz.com

You can also enjoy the official “Kings Cake” of New Orleans Mardi Gras. The Epiphany or Little Christmas is observed on January 6th in many Christian churches. This day has come to be known as “Kings Day.” Since the 300’s the day has honored the meeting of the three Wise Men with the infant Jesus. King Cakes became a part of the celebration to symbolize the “finding of the infant Jesus.” Traditionally, Kings cakes are oval-shaped to show unity of all Christians. The Mardi Gras season, which begins on this “Twelfth Night” (January 6th), is expressed on King Cakes by using the carnival colors of purple, green and gold. As a King Cake is cut, each person awaits anxiously for his piece to locate the small baby. It gets better…A plastic baby is inserted in each King Cake. The person who finds the baby is deemed the “King” or “Queen” and will bring the King Cake to the next King Cake party. Cannatas is New Orleans favorite King Cake for Mardi Gras.

If you can’t find some masks or beads in the kids dress up chest, print out these Mardi Gras paper masks and grab some gems and let them go to town with the glue.

I have printed the following coloring page out for them to design their own work of art.

They can enjoy this crossword puzzle when they get home from school.

Let the festivities begin!  Enjoy the parade, dancing in the streets, costumes and masked balls- even if the celebration happens to be in your own family room.

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