5 Fun Facts about Mardi Gras You Might Not Know

green, purple, and gold beads

What do you think about when you hear the words “Mardi Gras”? Maybe you have visions of green, gold, and purple flash through your mind or picture a brazen parade full of people joyfully tossing beads to onlookers. Perhaps you conjure images of delicious desserts like King’s cake, which you can indulge in all day long. Whatever comes to mind, you know that Mardi Gras is a day that’s focused on having a good time before Ash Wednesday and Lent begin.

Here are some fun facts that you might not know about Mardi Gras!

It’s Also Called Pancake Day – In some other countries like Ireland, England, Canada, New Zealand, and Australia, Mardi Gras is often called Pancake Day. The name came about because it was seen as a chance for revelers to use up their flour, eggs, and sugar before Lent, and pancakes were a popular choice. People in these countries partake in pancakes and enjoy pancake-themed activities during Mardi Gras!

Mardi Gras Is More Than 400 Years Old – Back in 1582, Pope Gregory XIII added Mardi Gras to the calendar (yes, the Gregorian Calendar) on the day before Ash Wednesday. Mardi Gras has been celebrated in the United States since the 1730s, with particularly large celebrations in Mobile, Alabama, New Orleans, and, of course, St. Louis!

There’s Meaning in the Colors – You probably already know that the official colors of Mardi Gras are purple, gold, and green, but did you know that they were chosen for very specific reasons? The king of the first daytime carnival in 1872 chose purple, which stood for justice, gold, which represented power, and green, which symbolized faith. The king would then throw beads in these colors to those whom he thought fit the meaning! Now, however, beads are tossed freely to onlookers.

It’s the Law to Wear Masks on Floats – When people began celebrating Mardi Gras, they would wear masks to protect their identities. Now, those who ride on the floats must wear masks under law!

King’s Cake Is the Dessert of Choice – While partygoers enjoy several special desserts during Mardi Gras, King’s cake is the most popular, especially here in the United States. This circular dessert is usually decorated in purple, green, and gold and has a tiny baby hidden somewhere inside. It is said that whoever discovers the baby will have good luck for the remainder of the year!

Mardi Gras is February 28 this year, which means that there’s still plenty of time to find all of the themed pastries and desserts you could possibly want for your friends, family, or coworkers (or even just for yourself!). Come in to McArthur’s Bakery Café to find your Mardi Gras desserts today!