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Mardi Gras And New Orleans Superstitions

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It’s Mardi Gras time which means it’s time to think about its significance of it. In particular, why do people do what they do during Mardi Gras, like wear masks and throw beads? Of course, not all of these activities are just about the fun of it all, as there are actually some traditions and superstitions behind them. What to learn even more read about the history of Mardi Gras.


If you go to Mardi Gras, you will see a lot of different masks. Many of them are adorned with feathers and jewels. Masks weren’t always worn just for fun, however. Back in the 17th century, lower-class festival-goers would wear them to disguise their identity. This would allow them to mingle with the upper class and not be restricted to stay within their own social class.

Throwing Beads

The tradition of throwing beaded necklaces at Mardi Gras dates back to over 140 years. Necklaces have three colors: gold stands for power, green stands for faith, and purple stands for justice. The elected King of Carnival would toss beads to spectators he thought had the traits that the bead colors represented. In the past, beads were made out of glass, but this is far less common today as the majority of the beads, both worn and thrown, are made out of plastic. If you can’t make it to New Orleans, Universal Orlando holds a Mardi Gras celebration every year. Check out the Universal Studios Mardi Gras schedule or performers and parades.

Painted Zulu Coconuts

A lot of time is spent designing and painting a theme onto a Zulu coconut. This tradition began back in the 1900s with African-Americans. They didn’t have money to buy glass beads, so they gathered coconuts instead. Then, in order to make them into something that others would actually want, they hand-painted designs on them and finished off their creations with glitter to make them sparkle. Unlike beads, they are given to spectators rather than thrown so that they don’t become a flying weapon of sorts.

Plastic Babies In King Cakes

Have you ever had a King Cake? This brightly colored pastry, decorated with the three colors of Mardi Gras, looks almost too good to eat! There’s usually a hidden surprise inside; a plastic baby. The superstition behind it is that whoever finds it (and hopefully doesn’t chomp on it and break their teeth) will have good luck for the entire year. There are a couple of theories as to when and why this started, one of which is that it started around 300 years ago and that the plastic figure represents baby Jesus.

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