Mardi Gras Carnival Art / February 21, 2019 / Blanche Durham
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.
And for those organizing their own party there are a few websites that specialize in very distinctive and unique party invitations for Mardi Gras and appropriate invitation wording samples. Catching Your Share of Those Mardi Gras Parade Throws The throwing of trinkets to the crowds watching parades (items thrown are known as doubloons) began during the 1870s by the Twelfth Night Revelers and continue to this day as a time-honored expectation for parade watchers of all ages. Over 100 years ago in 1884 Rex began using medallions instead of those previously used trinkets and those medallions are representative of today s doubloons (throws).