What do the Mardi Gras colors mean? The celebration, also known as Fat Tuesday, is happening today, 16 February. Traditionally, Mardi Gras always comes before the start of Lent and is linked to the city of New Orleans.

So, let’s take a look into the history of the day.

What is Mardi Gras?

Mardi Gras refers to events in the Carnival season running up to Lent.

what do mardi gras colors mean
NEW ORLEANS – FEBRUARY 20: Floats in the Rex parade roll along St. Charles avenue on Mardi Gras Day, February 20, 2007 in New Orleans, Louisiana. This is the second Mardi Gras celebration since Hurricane Katrina devasted the Gulf Coast region. (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)

It begins on or after the Christian feasts of the Epiphany and ends the day before Ash Wednesday.

It’s also known as Fat Tuesday or Shrove Tuesday throughout the world.

Some think Mardi Gras may come from the ancient Roman pagan celebrations of spring and fertility.

In the UK, Shrove Tuesday is usually celebrated by eating pancakes.

Pancakes are associated with the celebration, as they’re a good way to use up rich foods such as eggs, milk, and sugar, before the traditional fasting period of the Christian 40 days of Lent.

Mardi Gras, on the other hand, is linked to New Orleans, Louisiana. Celebrations typically last two weeks, with one major parade happening every day. Many of the celebrations are centred around Bourbon Street.

The first Mardi Gras parade held in New Orleans happened in February 1857.

What do the Mardi Gras colors mean?

The Mardi Gras colors of purple, gold, and green are associated with the celebrations in New Orleans.

But why? Well, the businessmen of Carnival Krewe Rex wished to honour the visiting Russian Grand Duke Alexis Romanoff to the city in 1872.

As a result, they added Romanoff’s family colours of green, purple, and gold to the parade celebrations and they’ve stuck ever since.

As for what the Mardi Gras colors mean, purple stands for justice, gold for power, and green for faith.

1872 was also the year when the Mardi Gras season when the Carnival’s anthem If Ever I Cease To Love was introduced – due to the Duke liking it.

Celebrating ‘Yardi Gras’ in 2021

Like many other events in 2021, Mardi Gras too looks very different this year.

But New Orleans natives won’t be beaten down by coronavirus restrictions! As such, they’ve been making their houses look like parade floats – with many calling the celebration “Yardi Gras”.

However, streets in the city normally filled with celebrating locals and tourists were eerily quiet today.

Thankfully, you can still celebrate Mardi Gras from home. A highlight is Mardi Gras For Y’all, a three-day celebration of local talent.

Have something to tell us about this article?