Mardi Gras is coming up on Feb. 21 and, being from Louisiana, it is one of my very favorite holidays.
First, Mardi Gras king cakes are one of my favorite desserts. They are gold, green and purple and have a variety of types and flavors for filling. Many enjoy cream cheese, strawberry, blueberry, apple and cinnamon, to name just a few.
The king cakes also come with a tiny plastic baby inside. Tradition has it that the one who gets the baby buys the next king cake. I normally find a way to get the piece with the baby, so it is safe to say that I have bought many king cakes in my lifetime. In Louisiana, king cakes are in all stores right after Christmas ends. We take our king cakes very seriously, and many bakeries and coffee shops offer specialty king cake drinks and desserts.
Another reason I love Mardi Gras is that we have fun balls and dances as well as parades filled with many floats and people dressing up and throwing beads, candy and masks to the crowds. The largest and most popular Mardi Gras celebrations are in New Orleans. New Orleans hosted the first American Mardi Gras celebration that took place in 1699, and it is no surprise that the “Big Easy” is full of rich French history.
In addition, in Louisiana, we get a week off of school for Mardi Gras break. How could that not be celebrated?
Now, you may be wondering what Mardi Gras truly is and why it is celebrated. Mardi Gras is French for “Fat Tuesday.” This comes from the fact that the festival takes place on the Tuesday before Ash Wednesday because it is the first day of Lent. Mardi Gras colors also have a symbolic meaning. Green represents faith, gold represents power and purple represents justice.
Have a happy Mardi Gras, and be sure to eat some king cake.