Since I was born and raised (during my early years) in
These parades typically run throughout the Carnival season, which officially begins on January 6 (the Twelfth Night of Christmas). The carnival season ends on Fat Tuesday, the day before the start of Lent. Back in the 1800’s, sugar-coated almonds were thrown into the crowd – in a tradition similar to the festival customs of the English Renaissance era.
In the late 1800’s, the tradition of bead-throwing began. Inexpensive necklaces of glass beads were an instant hit among locals and tourists alike. Legend has it that a man dressed up as Santa Claus was the first person in a
By 1900, over 100,000 tourists traveled to
Despite all of these other souvenirs, bead necklaces remain the most popular trinket passed out during the celebration. Today, Mardi Gras beads can be found in various sizes, shapes, and colors. The most popular size today is about thirty three inches long. They are also now made with cheaper and safer materials like plastic and aluminum rather than glass. Traditional Mardi Gras beads are purple, green, and gold colors. The purple symbolizes justice; the green represents faith; and the gold signifies power.
If you are participating in the Mardi Gras carnival this year or hosting your own Mardi Gras party, make sure you get plenty of colorful beads!