If you’ve heard of Mardi Gras, you most likely associate wild parties and lots of crazy fun to it, but that is not what it is all about. Traditionally, this holiday came about to celebrate the coming of spring with days of celebration and merriment, precluding the religious Catholic holiday Lent, the 40 days of penance between Ash Wednesday and Easter Sunday. It is celebrated in many places all over the world, but the only state in the U.S. that recognizes it as a holiday is Louisiana.
The official Mardi Gras holiday date is February 21, 2012, but you will find many festivities going on in New Orleans from now until then. There are tons of parades every weekend, and some week nights, from now until the main event. These parades are family-friendly. Contrary to popular belief, the parades are great for kids. They will get to watch the beautiful floats roll by, feast on the many treats up and down the street and catch and wear beads being thrown to them as the parade participants stroll by wearing purple, green and gold. Just take care not to go to Bourbon street after all the family festivities are over — that’s when those things you hear about occur.
Universal Orlando also caters to this holiday with festivities starting February 11, 2012 through April 14, 2012. It combines thrilling theme park entertainment with elaborate parades, costumed performers, authentic New Orleans bands, Cajun cuisine and live concerts by some of today’s most popular artists like the Goo Goo Dolls, Kelly Clarkson, Sugar Ray and Cyndi Lauper.
If you can’t travel to either of these locations there is nothing to stop you from having your own Mardi Gras celebration in your own home! Go grab some party decor from your local party store (or just grab decor with Mardi colors from a regular store — purple, green and gold), whip up some Cajun food and grill ’til your heart’s content with friends, family members and neighbors.
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