Mardi Gras Carnival Art / February 21, 2019 / Fran Petty
These doubloons are anodized in many different colors and made of aluminum. They usually depict the theme of the parade on one side and the emblem of the Krewe throwing them on the other. Over the years these have become collector s items. For the Bacchus Kings parade doubloons are thrown with the image of the Celebrity King on one side of the doubloon. And for those lucky enough to catch one and hold onto it it s a sure fire souvenir to be kept forever. Other more popular throws are cups (also known as dinnerware of New Orleans) stuffed animals and long pearl beads. Warning! Don t Reach Down to Pick Up Doubloons!! If you are at your first parade and start to reach down to pick up a doubloon with your hand you can expect your fingers to never be the same! Why you ask? When doubloons hit the ground all those around stomp the ground and rush to claim them.
The celebration of the last day before Lent dates back to at least the Middle Ages when men of noble lineage or accomplishment were knighted and formal banquets took place to honor the occasion. Mardi Gras which means Fat Tuesday in French as an alternate name for Shrove Tuesday was established in New Orleans while the city was under French control and was maintained as a major festival even when the territory was relinquished into Spanish hands as well as after the Louisiana Purchase was signed and the state of Louisiana officially joined the Union.
Beginning two weeks before Fat Tuesday or Mardi Gras Day there is at least one parade daily. It is during these parades that the beads or throws are primarily used. The New Orleans parades are organized by Krewes which are member sponsored communities. During the course of the parade the krewe members toss out a number of different types of throws such as beads doubloons cups and stuffed animals or small toys. Make sure you bring a large bag pillow case or any other sturdy container to bring your "catch" home in. Prior to the 1960 s the beads were made from glass; however they are currently being made from plastic.