AMARILLO, Texas (KAMR/KCIT) —New Orleans homes are being elaborately transformed into decorative and creative Mardi Gras floats, and all the Carnival season’s rituals and culture are kept alive in many new ways as the city welcomes back tourists from around the world.
2021 Mardi Gras Facts:
- Mardi Gras season begins on Twelfth Night (January 6) and lasts through Mardi Gras Day, which falls on Tuesday, February 16 this year.
- Mardi Gras in New Orleans typically means dancing in the streets, standing on the street making friends with strangers and watching endless Mardi Gras floats roll by, but this year many of the parade organizations (called Krewes) are doing scavenger hunts, drive-by events, virtual events and one parade will allow you to even catch virtual goodies on their unique app.
- King Cakes, the traditional Mardi Gras confection with a tiny plastic baby doll symbolizing Jesus hidden deep inside the dough, is flowing in abundance this year as Carnival organizers find new ways to keep the Mardi Gras spirit alive.
- King Cakes are oval-shaped to symbolize the unity of faiths. Each cake is decorated in the traditional Mardi Gras colors – purple representing justice, green representing faith, and gold representing power.
- Visitors are still welcome to New Orleans, but officials stress that they must wear a mask, keep socially distant, wash their hands and adhere to the local guidelines.
- Food is at the core of every New Orleans celebration especially Mardi Gras. Restaurants are open for dine in or take out, and special Mardi Gras packages are available at hundreds of New Orleans best eateries.
- Fat Tuesday is celebrated the day before Ash Wednesday, the start of the 40-day solemn Lenten season leading up to Easter Sunday.
- Mardi Gras started in New Orleans the day Pierre Le Moyne d’Iberville, soldier, ship captain, explorer, and founder of the French colony of Louisiana in New France, arrived in the area in 1699, with the first parade dating back to the Krewe of Rex in 1857.
- NOLA Hospitality SAFE is a community of local hospitality operators, business partners and guests committed to keeping residents and visitors healthy while reopening the economy. Hotels, restaurants, musicians, and others have taken a pledge to follow COVID-19 reopening guidelines including wearing face coverings, following CDC-recommended sanitation practices, limiting capacity to allow for distancing and more. In turn, it’s asked that visitors make a similar pledge to ensure that the safety of everyone is top of mind.