Top 10 Interesting New Orleans Mardi Gras Facts

New Orleans Mardi GrasThere are some interesting New Orleans Mardi Gras facts that make the festival extremely appealing to those who have never participated. They include many traditions laced with history dating as far back as the 1700s. One thing is for certain, celebrating Mardi Gras is not like anything you have ever experienced. It is a life-changing event.

The top 10 interesting New Orleans Mardi Gras facts include:

1. New Orleans Mardi Gras is not the first recorded festival in the United States. In reality, the original Mardi Gras began in the city of Mobile, Alabama in 1703, only one year after Jean Baptiste Le Moyne Sieur de Bienville founded the city. In 1699 this French explorer settled 60 miles away and established a town called Fort Louis de la Louisiane, which is now called Mobile.

2. Although the first floats to be designed and constructed in New Orleans date as far back as 1873, it wasn’t until 1947, when Mardi Gras World opened that one manufacturer made float-building a full-time occupation.

3. The Mardi Gras festival is always celebrated on different dates, however, regardless of the calendar dates, the actual celebration will consistently be held exactly 47 days prior to Easter Sunday. The usual timeframe is between February and March.

4. The city of Louisiana recognizes New Orleans Mardi Gras as an actual legal holiday. This is the only city in the United States to do so. Considering they also celebrate this festival in Mississippi and Alabama, it is very rare that they would pass such a law.

5. If you make accommodations in any of the French Quarter hotels, be advised that during Mardi Gras, this area is blocked off. You will not be permitted to drive along this route until the festival ends.

6. The majority of the New Orleans packages will require you to book rooms well in advance during Mardi Gras season, making last minute accommodations difficult. They also raise their rates, double or triple the regular rate. It is recommended that you select your package during the off season, a few months after the last Mardi Gras ends to guarantee a fair rate and a good room for the next Mardi Gras.

7. The tradition of throwing beads dates back to the 1920s. Originally, they were created and formed out of glass however by 1950 they started making them out of plastic. This was for safety reasons.

8. New Orleans Mardi Gras law states that anyone considered part of the Krewe must wear a mask while on the float. The only exception is celebrities and royal party members. Painted faces are considered acceptable in lieu of masks.

9. During Mardi Gras season, bakeries create thousands of cakes, specifically King Cakes. They symbolize the start of the festival and are more like coffee cakes, than standard cakes. They are decorated with the Mardi Gras colors of green, gold and purple.

10. In addition to the beads, golden nuggets are thrown during the parade. They are usually drained coconuts, painted black and white or gold. They are extremely valuable collector’s items.