Celebrate Mardi Gras! This history rich festival makes for the perfect mid-winter party! The dead of winter is upon us all here in the Northern states and it’s time to gather friends and family just in time to get everyone over the winter doldrums. Mardi Gras provides a fun and festive reason for a celebration!

Mardi Gras season runs from the end of Christmas to the beginning of Lent on the Christian calendar. It always begins with the Feast of the Epiphany, the twelfth day after Christmas and ends on Ash Wednesday. Mardi Gras is French for Fat Tuesday. The celebration is held on that day as traditionally Lent begins a 40-day period of austerity, so the Mardi Gras revelry was the last chance to eat, drink and be merry before Lent. Here in the United States Mardi Gras was introduced by the French and first celebrated along the Mississippi River, near what is now New Orleans. This origin is what has established the strong connection between New Orleans and Mardi Gras. In 2010 the official Mardi Gras festivities occur on Tuesday, February 16th.

So you’ve got some history.. now here are some tips to help you plan your our own celebration. A Mardi Gras party is fun for all ages. It can be as much fun for the kids as it as for the adults. .Adapt your fun and games according to the age of your guests! Our family has done this party for kids from 6 to 16 in addition to adults.

The official Mardi Gras colors are purple, green and gold representing justice, faith and power, as this was a festival rooted in both religion and monarchy. There has always been a King and Queen of Mardi Gras celebrations.. so let your party include a way to choose ones from among your guests. This can be done by seeing who collects the most Mardi Gras beads; gold coins, has the best costume or finds the Baby King, which is baked into the King cake. A King cake is a traditional Mardi Gras dessert.

Invitations are abundant both online and in the stores. Party stores have all kinds of Mardi Gras decorations.. so brighten your home with these traditional colors on tablecloths, paper goods and banners or wall décor. Buy a fun jazz CD or put together an I pod play list and let the music add to the ambiance. Don’t forget to have tons of Mardi Gras beads on hand so that you can bedeck all the guests.

Food for a Mardi Gras party can be gumbo or jambalaya. Both of these are easy to make and always crowd pleasers. Any kind of shrimp or crab dip with some baguettes or French bread are welcomed appetizers. If this is an adult party you could make a Hurricane punch. Dessert should be the King Cake. This is a lengthy recipe, so my advice.. buy or order one! Just make sure if the Baby King doll is baked into it, you alert your guests. You don’t need someone breaking a tooth as they take their first bite. Tradition says who ever finds the Baby King in their cake will receive a year of good luck! You could also make your own desserts and decorate with frostings and sugars of the Mardi Gras colors.

What can really add to your Mardi Gras celebration are fun games and activities. Check out Celebration Ideas Online
for some great games and activities that work for all ages! You will also find recipe recommendations and a creative idea for Mardi Gras invitations you can make yourself. So get going and plan your own Mardi Gras revelry!

Author's Bio: 

Carol is married with four grown children whose family loves to celebrate everything! Their family celebration experiences and traditions can be further viewed at their family website Celebration Ideas Online at www.celebrationideasonline.com Ideas for birthday, graduation, theme, anniversary parties abound here. Her site also includes some unique sections on planning a wedding, college care packages, team spirit fun, gifts and party favors. There is even a section on celebrating the college application process with tips from a Mom of 4 college kids! There are some great ideas for creating lasting family memories!