Mardi Gras is celebrated throughout the world but festivities in New Orleans are like none other, we have compiled a list of 8 ways you can celebrate Mardi Gras at home with your family. It can be a lot of fun to celebrate with kids and a chance for everyone to experience some of the culture of this unique American city. Below are 8 ways to bring the fun home.
- Enjoy a king cake: The king cake is the traditional dessert for New Orleans Mardi Gras and is available for sale at many supermarkets or bakeries. It includes the Mardi Gras colors of purple, green, and yellow and has a fava bean or a replica of a baby Jesus baked inside. The person who gets the slice with the prize becomes the Mardi Gras king or queen for the day.
- Try out other Mardi Gras foods: New Orleans is one of America’s great food cities. Many of the city’s delicacies can be made in a traditional kitchen. Try things like red beans and rice, jambalaya, dirty rice or a Cajun spiced seafood spread.
- Find the right music: Mardi Gras parade music and New Orleans jazz can be a treat for listeners of any age. Options range from standards such as “When the Saints Go Marching In” and “Mardi Gras Mambo” to historical blues recordings and brass band parade songs.
- Create replica band instruments: Consider using cardboard, tin foil, paper towel and wrapping paper rolls, boxes, sticks or even pots and pans to create a set of musical instruments like you’d see in a Mardi Gras parade.
- Make a replica Mardi Gras parade float: In New Orleans, parades happen for several days leading up to the last Tuesday before Lent. They all feature elaborate floats that city neighborhood groups have been working on since the year prior. Find a large cardboard refrigerator or appliance box, paint, markers, and decorations, and make a Mardi Gras parade float. Make it fancy and pick a theme to increase the fun.
- Make a mask or a costume: Masks and costumes are a historic part of Mardi Gras celebrations. Kids can make their own with beads, glitter, feathers, boas and baubles or jewelry. If kids have made a float, the costumes can coordinate with the float’s design.
- Make Mardi Gras Beads: Mardi Gras beads are a core part of the celebration. In New Orleans they are thrown from parade floats and crowds of watchers compete to see how many they can hang around their necks. There are always plenty to go around. At home, kids can make decorative macaroni necklaces or wooden bead necklaces in Mardi Gras colors and add them to their costume.
- Hold an indoor parade: Once kids have the music, beads, instruments, and costume designed, they’re ready to start their own parade at home. They can walk, strut and dance through rooms and outside. They should also be sure to spend some time dancing around their float if they’ve made one.
While there are a lot of ways to enjoy Mardi Gras, what kids choose to do is up to them. The important part is to have fun and enjoy a great time experiencing New Orleans culture together.