Mardi Gras 2014 celebrations got underway on February 15, 2014. How much do you know about this Fat Tuesday celebration that dates back to 1703? Family friendly fun facts and trivia questions and answers are a great way to introduce Mardi Gras to the younger kids in your family. It may also help to curb questions about the not so family friendly aspects of Mardi Gras, if the kids hear about the rich history and clean cut traditions.
For more Mardi Gras fun, read:
Have some fun with these Mardi Gras trivia questions and answers by cutting them out (on gold colored paper) and placing them in a green or purple bag or basket. Have a bell by the basket and tell your family to ring the bell when they want to challenge another family member with their Mardi Gras knowledge; or simply ring the bell and whoever is closest to the green or purple bag or basket gets to read a Mardi Gras trivia question.
Family friendly Mardi Gras trivia questions and answers:
- When is Mardi Gras Day 2014? March 4th. Mardi Gras Day (also known as Fat Tuesday) is the last day of the Carnival season and the day before Ash Wednesday. Mardi Gras Day falls on a different day each year, however, it is always 46 days before Easter.
- When does Mardi Gras officially start? Mardi Gras officially starts at Twelfth Night, which occurs 12 days after Christmas on January 6th. There are several celebrations around the city, and it is a great day here in New Orleans. For all of us King Cake Lovers, the bakeries around town will have King Cakes for sale!
- What do the colors of Mardi Gras (purple, green and gold) symbolize? Purple represents Justice; Green represents Faith; Gold represents Power.
- How and where do they build all the Mardi Gras parade floats? The floats are built in different facilities throughout New Orleans by float design companies. The area they build and store the floats are called dens.
- What is a Mardi Gras parade like? Almost all of the Mardi Gras parades begin with the King and Queen leading the parade. They are followed by many floats, which carry the members of the krewe. The krewe members throw “trinkets or throws” to the crowds lining the streets. These throws can be doubloons with the krewes insignia on them, beads, cups, etc. Many of these items become collectibles each year. The crowd scrambles for the throws while yelling “throw me something mister!”
- Can anyone attend one of the Mardi Gras balls? Admission to the traditional balls held is by invitation only. Most invitations are non-transferable.
- Why do people bring a ladder to Madi Gras parades? Many people bring ladders to parades for height advantage. Some even build custom ladders to seat children in them. (Many times the krewe members throw extra trinkets and throws to children on ladders.)
- What are Krews? The krewes (pronounced crews) are the secret societies that organize the Mardi Gras parades and balls. Currently, about 60 krewes work behind the scenes to create merriment and mayhem. The Krewe of Rex, established in 1872, played a key role in determining long-standing Mardi Gras traditions, including selecting the official colors and starting the tradition of crowning a King and Queen of Mardi Gras.
- What role do masks play in Mardi Gras? Masked balls have been a part of the Mardi Gras tradition dating back to the French settlers that arrived in the South in the early 1700s. Hidden behind masks decorated in beads, feathers and glittery fabric, revelers could behave without inhibition, to an extent that for a time in the early 19th century, masked party goers were outlawed in New Orleans. The mask prohibition ended by the mid-1820s, and were once again legal.
- What is a Mardi Gras King Cake? One of the most popular traditions of Mardi Gras is the King Cake, which is a coffee cake pastry with a plastic baby inside. Traditionally, whoever finds the baby in his or her piece of cake is said to have good fortune throughout the year and must provide the King Cake for next year's party.
- True or False: Mardi Gras in America was begun in New Orleans. False. A common misconception - Mardi Gras in America was actually begun in Mobile, Alabama in 1703, a year after its founding, in 1857, members of a Mobilian mystic society brought Mardi Gras to New Orleans.
- What medieval tradition can Mardi Gras be traced back to? Feasting before the arrival of Lent. Mardi Gras day was the last day before Lent, when Catholics would give up a certain food until Easter. Therefore, they would feast the day before. Hence the translation of Mardi Gras in the next question...
- What does the French expression 'Mardi Gras' literally translate to in English? Fat Tuesday. It was called so because of the feasting that took place on this day.
- What is the name of the first mystic society, created in 1830? Cowbellion de Rakin Society. This society, under the leadership of Michael Kraft, took the streets of Mobile in 1830 after plundering local stores for rakes, hoes, and cowbells. It was the Cowbellion de Rakin Society who traveled to New Orleans in 1857 to begin its first mystic society.
- When did this original mystic society hold its parade? New Year's Eve. Though the Cowbellion de Rakin society marched the streets of Mobile on New Year's Eve, they are still considered the first mystic society and a predecessor of modern Mardi Gras.
- How did the Spanish add their touch to the French Mardi Gras? By holding lighted torch parades. Some mystic societies today still march by torchlight.
- Which of the following was New Orleans' first mystic society? Crewe of Comos. The Crewe of Comos used to parade at Mardi Gras in New Orleans, but gave up in the 1990s (although they still participate in "The Meeting of the Courts" to end the Carnival season). The other three societies mentioned hold parades in Mobile.
- What was the first black mystic society in Mobile? Order of Doves. All of these were black mystic societies in Mobile, but the original was the Order of Doves, which held its first ball in 1894.
- Which of the following was Mobile's first women's society? Polka Dots. The Polka Dots were the first women's society in Mobile, holding their first parade in 1949. They still march today, along with several other women's societies, including the Order of Athena. Le Krewe de Bienville holds balls for tourists to Mobile during Mardi Gras.
- What is Mardi Gras known as in the Christian calendar? Shrove Tuesday. Shrove Tuesday is the day before Lent starts. The following day, the first day of lent is known as Ash Wednesday.
- What Mobilian mystic society rides aboard floats that are decorated with sarcastic remarks and drawings and rarely throws candy and trinkets? Comic Cowboys. The Comic Cowboys typically parade behind the KOR floats.
Have fun with your family during the Mardi Gras season. Start a new tradition of quizzing each other on Mardi Gras fun facts.
Have a fun and safe Mardi Gras season!
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