To welcome the New Year, Swinomish is transporting you to New Orleans! With live music by Louisiana native Richard Allen, Cajun-inspired cuisine, Mardi Gras-inspired party favors and more, you won’t want to miss it! Join us December 31 for a Mardi Gras New Year’s Eve Celebration, and bring your best purple, gold and green bling! To get you ready for the festivities, learn more about Mardi Gras below.
Mardi Gras is French for “Fat Tuesday.”
Mardi Gras, French for “Fat Tuesday,” represents a day of feasting on the most rich and decadent foods before the Catholic church’s first day of Lent. The days leading up to Lent, however, are known as the Carnival, which is filled with public parades, seas of beads and other colorful traditions. Carnival starts on the twelfth night of Christmas, January 6, and continues until Mardi Gras.
The colors of Mardi Gras: green, yellow and purple.
Mardi Gras isn’t complete without literally millions of beads, masquerade masks, glitzy hats and other brightly colored accessories. Everything is dominated by three colors: green (represents faith), purple (represents justice), and gold (represents power).
Krewes are private social groups that host parades and events for Mardi Gras.
Krewes began forming in New Orleans in mid-1800s. Today, New Orleans has more than 60 krewes that organize events, with more in southern Louisiana. Many more still stand strong today. Among them is the Krewe of Zulu, which is known for throwing painted coconuts, a tradition dating back more than 100 years. The Krewe of Rex is another historic group that famously crowns a king of Mardi Gras each year.
A cake with a tiny baby inside is called a “king cake.”
On the surface, to those not familiar with king cakes, it may seem like a silly tradition. King cakes are traditionally giant donut-looking pastries, made with cinnamon-sugar dough, that are glazed and covered with brightly colored sprinkles and sugar. A small plastic baby is baked inside, and whoever finds the baby in their slice must pay for the next king cake. More than 500,000 king cakes are sold each year, and another 50,000 are shipped around the country.
Mardi Gras is a money maker!
Each year, the metro area in New Orleans books 37,000-plus hotel rooms. According to a study by the University of New Orleans, the holiday brings in more than $840 million to the city annually.
Louisiana Tourism Press Room
New Orleans Convention & Visitors Bureau