I married a man from Louisiana. A condition of our union was that we would never miss Mardi Gras weekend. And here I am, on Mardi Gras Friday, writing from New Orleans. I wish nothing more than for all of you to experience this amazing time in this amazing city. And trust me, there is much more to Mardi Gras than Bourbon Street. Here is what you need to know:
- Mardi Gras is the culmination of Carnival season, which starts on January 6th.
- The actual Mardi Gras day depends on when Easter falls (which depends on the Moon). This means that Carnival season can be as short as a month or as long as two.
- The colors of Mardi Gras are purple, green, and gold.
- The foods of Mardi Gras season are delicious, and fast – given that no one has time for a sit-down meal: King Cake, finger sandwiches, fried chicken, and one pot Louisiana dishes such as red beans and rice, jambalaya, or gumbo.
- King Cake is the Louisiana version of Galette des Rois. In New Orleans, the two best sources of said King Cake are Gambinos and Dong Phuong (at a recent taste test at my friend Angie’s house, Dong Phuong won hands down). It is not possible to eat King Cake after Fat Tuesday.
- Krewes are Carnival organizations that exist solely for the purpose of putting on parades and balls during Carnival season.
- Costumes are de rigueur during this weekend. Most New Orleans residents have entire costume closets, and costumes don’t necessarily represent specific characters (one year I dressed up as the color purple).
- Mardi Gras day is followed by Ash Wednesday, which is the official start of Lent.
- The Mardi Gras rules of our household are the following:
- Me first.
- No plans.
- Always have something to drink in your hand.
- No breaking up.
- No fighting.
- Everyone is welcome.
- If one partakes in the revelry of Mardi Gras, one must give up something for Lent. (I am still trying to figure out what to give up on Wednesday).
Happy Mardi Gras weekend y’all!