French Quarter, New Orleans, Louisiana
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Bring the king cakes. Mardi Gras
Welcome to Mardi Gras! This festival is celebrated all over the United States, Caribbean, and South America, but it is an icon of New Orleans. The first Mardi Gras was held in Louisiana at the mouth of the Mississippi River in 1833, after a wealthy Frenchman raised funds to finance the formal celebration. Today, the centerpiece is a series of parades led by various ‘krewes’. The krewes throw purple, green, and gold beads at onlookers, symbolizing justice, faith, and power.
The holiday's name, Mardi Gras, means 'Fat Tuesday' in French. It refers to a feast of decadent foods like king cakes and crawfish prior to Lent, a season of fasting in the Catholic faith.
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