I was first introduced to Mardi Gras and all of its glory in college while attending LSU. It was like nothing I had ever experienced before, but I’ll save those stories for another time! As Fat Tuesday draws near and many of us are attending fun Mardi Gras parties, and I started to wonder how many of you all know the history of Mardi Gras and it’s deeply religious ties. So here is a quick 411 on Mardi Gras beyond the parties and parades, beads and masks and alcohol!
The History of Mardi Gras.
The origination of Mardi Gras dates back thousands of years ago. Its original purpose was to celebrate the coming of spring and fertility. The Mardi Gras we know began in Roman times as a Christian celebration before Lent and the Easter holiday. Mardi Gras in the United States took life in Louisiana and has evolved into a long weekend celebration of indulgences, bright colors, and costumes.
So why the three colors and what do they mean? Mardi Gras’ purple, green and gold can be traced to the first Rex parade in 1872. The Rex Parade theme, Symbolism of Colors, in 1892 gave meaning to these colors. Purple – Justice. Green – Faith. Gold – Power.
Fat Tuesday marks the day before Ash Wednesday and the start to the Lenten season, where fasting and sacrifice are common in certain religions. Celebrations that center around good food are a Mrs. Gridiron favorite. Each year our family celebrates with the traditional Red Beans and Rice and the ever famous king cake.
We’re proud to share our family tradition with our Mrs. Gridiron family this year. Check out our Mardi Gras menu here.
Here is a bonus factoid for all of you LSU and Tulane fans! It has been said that the three colors of Mardi Gras had a significant impact on the school colors chosen by Louisiana State University and Tulane University. The shops in New Orleans were overflowing with purple, gold, and green for the Mardi Gras season. It was then that LSU chose purple and gold and bought as much of the two colors as possible, leaving Tulane to pick the remaining green.
In honor of all things Mardi Gras, we’re spotlighting a base recipe that will help all your Cajun cooking dreams come true. A roux is simply a thickening agent for soups, stews, and sauces. The ingredient list consists of equal parts oil (I prefer vegetable oil) and flour. There are many methods and end products, but the easiest directions we have are to start heating the oil in your cast iron skillet, slowly whisk all the flour in, a little bit at a time, until smooth. Reduce heat and over the next 30-45 minutes continue to stir and watch the color darken until ready. Here is a great how-to video!
Add some cajun spice to your cooking with Mrs. Gridiron’s Shotgun Cajun Seasoning. It’s perfect for meat, veggies and more! Available for purchase here.