Saturday, February 11, 2012

Celebrate Mardi Gras - Let the Good Times Roll!

Pierrot and Harlequin

Paul Cezzane, 1888
February 21 ushers in Mardi Gras. Laissez les bons rouler! (Let the good times roll!)  
  • Mardi Gras is French for "Fat Tuesday” and” Shrove Tuesday” from the ancient custom of parading a fat ox through Paris on this day. The ox was to remind the people that they were not allowed to eat meat during Lent.
The Tuesday that Mardi Gras falls on is also known as Shrove Tuesday. The name comes from the custom of confessing on the day before lent. Shrove means "to be forgiven one's sins."
Mardi Gras parades happen throughout the world. Biloxi in Mississipi, Rio de Janeiro in Brazil, Nice in France, Binche in Belgium and Viareggio in Italy are a few examples.
Mardi Gras came to America in 1699 with the French explorer Iberville. Mardi Gras had been celebrated in Paris since the Middle Ages, where it was a major holiday
The first documented parade occurred in 1837. 
A very popular custom is the making of the "King's Cake" which represents the three kings who brought gifts. A plastic baby is baked inside the King Cake, and the tradition is whoever receives the baby in their piece of cake must buy the next King Cake or throw the next party.
The cake glazed and then sprinkled with colored sugar. The three colors of the sugar are Purple (representing Justice), Green (representing Faith) and Gold (representing Power).
The above information found at the following websites:  

In honor of the “King’s Cake” I offer you some delicious folktales about cakes from around the world.

Earth Cakes, Sky Cakes – Vietnam
The Cake is Mine – Korea

Epaminondas and his Aunt – United States
Johnny Cake – English Folktale

The Story of the Cake Tree – Ceylon
The Story of Chung Cake - Vietnam
The Two Cakes - Italy

Here are some additional folktales from Louisiana to put in you a partying mood!

American Folklore: Louisiana - Meet Foolish John, a riverboat captain and opossum in these three delightful tales.

Louisiana Folk-tales - From Google books, a downloadable book of public domain folktales by Alcée Fortier shared in both French Dialect and English Translation.


Celebrate Fat Tuesday - Fun crafts, games and coloring pages.
Lots of interesting crafts, coloring pages and additional lesson plans await.

Mardi Gras Coloring Pages 

Mardi Gras Masks 

CURRICULUM - Mardi Gras activities designed to help your students celebrate Mardi Gras, oriented around Pancake Day, known in many countries as "Shrove Tuesday".

Folklife in Louisiana - This site offers a wide range of information on collecting local, folklore, exploring communities and traditions, adaptable lesson plans, and stories!

Louisiana Voices - An Educators Guide to Exploring Our Communities and Traditions.

Mardi Gras - Filled with information on the traditions of Mari Gras, included the Krewes, parade, the King Cake, music and more.


Cajun Folktales by J.J. Reneaux – This is a must have for every storyteller’s bookshelf!

Karen Chace 2012 ©

This blog post was researched and compiled by Karen Chace. Permission for private use is granted. Distribution, either electronically or on paper is prohibited without my expressed written permission. For permission please contact me at Of course, if you wish to link to my blog via your website, blog, newsletter, Facebook page or Twitter please feel free to do so; I greatly appreciate your support and personal integrity.