Thanks to Jolene Dodge from Escalante High in Garfield for sharing her Mardi Gras idea!
Students learn about Mardi Gras by experience.
Some activities for the holiday:
- Greet students at the door wearing a Mardi Gras mask.
- Present each student with a strand of beads.
- Have students choose Mardi Gras masks.
- Briefly explain the history and meaning of Mardi Gras.( see below)
- Have students try some King Cake. Two students, a girl and a boy, will find a token in the cake. Assign a King crown to the young man and Queen crown to the young lady. Advise students that they are the King and Queen of the Day. Award free homework passes to make the embarrassment worthwhile.
- Play Cajun Music. Have students get up and dance for about 5 minutes.
- Have students help clean up the room.
Students will respond in writing to the questions: How is Mardi Gras celebrated? What is the significance of this holiday? What is its origin?
History and Meaning:
MARDI GRAS IN THE UNITED STATES
Many historians believe that the first American Mardi Gras took place on March 3, 1699, when the French explorers landed in what is now Louisiana.
They held a small celebration and named the spot Point du Mardi Gras. In the many years that followed, New Orleans and other French settlements began marking the holiday with street parties, masked balls and lavish dinners.
In French, “Mardi Gras” literally means “Fat Tuesday”. The origin is believed to come from an ancient custom of parading a fat ox through the streets and signaled a day of feasting.
On Mardi Gras in 1827, a group of students donned colorful costumes and danced through the streets of New Orleans, emulating what they had observed while visiting Paris. In 1857, a secret society of New Orleans businessmen called the Mistick Krewe of Comus organized a torch-lit Mardi Gras procession with marching bands and rolling floats, setting the tone for future public celebrations in the city. Other lasting customs include throwing beads and other trinkets, wearing masks, decorating floats and eating King Cake.
Louisiana is the only state in which Mardi Gras is a legal holiday. However, other states also have celebrations.
Traditional King Cake colors are:
Purple – to symbolize Justice
Green – to symbolize Faith
Gold – to symbolize Power