Check your Mardi Gras Trivia - 5 Fun Facts

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Photo courtesy of Erich Faust

Photo courtesy of Erich Faust

1. The first official American Mardi Gras is said to have been celebrated on March 2, 1699, when French-Canadian explorer Jean Baptiste Le Moyne Sieur de Bienville and his men named their location (now Moblie, Ala.) "Pointe du Mardi Gras” on the eve of the celebration.

2. Anyone on the parade route who requests a woman to bare her breasts for beads or trinkets to can be arrested.

3. In addition to adding mystery and fantasy to Mardi Gras, masks were worn in the early years primarily to escape class and social constraints. But today’s float riders are required by law to wear them.

4. King Cakes (or A King’s Cake) honor the three wise men who visited baby Jesus. Decorated in the traditional colors—purple, green and gold (justice, faith and power)—the dough contains a tiny plastic or ceramic baby. Whoever gets it must host the next year’s King Cake party.

5. Each “krewe” offers a unique history and parade theme, and one of the oldest and most famous is Krewe of Rex (est. 1892). Most krewes ride in parades on the same day each year, and members alone fund their float design and “throws.” (Famous New Orleanian Harry Connick, Jr., for instance, is a founding member of Krewe of Orpheus, which rides Monday before Fat Tuesday.) And that’s why locals refer to Mardi Gras as the “Greatest Free Show on Earth.”

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