Mardi Gras came to New Orleans through its French
heritage in 1699. Early explorers celebrated this French Holiday on
the banks of the Mississippi River. Throughout the years, Orleanians
have added to the celebration by establishing krewes (organizations)
which host parades and balls. Carnival quickly became an exciting
holiday for both children and adults.
Mardi Gras means "Fat Tuesday" and of course
is celebrated on that day of the week. The date can fall between February
3 and March 9 depending on the Lunar calendar, used by the Catholic
Church to determine the date of Easter. Mardi Gras is always 47 days
before Easter Sunday.
The official colors for Mardi Gras are purple, green,
and gold. These colors were chosen in 1872 by the King of Carnival,
Rex. He chose these colors to stand for the following:
* Purple represents justice
* green stands for faith
* gold stands for power
The Mardi Gras season begins on January 6 and continues
until Fat Tuesday, the day before Ash Wednesday. On the Christian
calendar, the twelfth day after Christmas is known as "Epiphany",
"Twelfth Night", or "Kings Day." It is the day
the gift-bearing Magi visited the baby Jesus, and is celebrated with
its own unique rituals.