Mardi Gras is a festival and Christian holiday that dates 1000’s of years ago to pagan spring and fertility rights such as the Roman festivals of Saturnalia and Lupercalia. Today, it is a prelude to Lent, the 40 days of penance between Ash Wednesday (Cathoics place ashes on their forehead as a sign of mourning and penance to God) and Easter Sunday.

In the United States, Louisiana is the only state in which it is a legal holiday. It will be celebrated this year on Tuesday, March 1st, “Fat Tuesday”. Celebrations include parades which are organized by Krews, formal masquerade balls, and various carnival activities. Each parade Krew hosts elaborate formal balls to introduce the parade King and Queen.

The original daytime Mardi Gras crew is called Rex. This was the crew that used the colors used by Duke Alexis Romanoff for the parade colors. Purple stands for justice, green for faith, and gold for power. This Mardi Gras season may you be whisked away in airy jubilation, but be careful of excessive debauchery too!