Therefore, because there could be no celebrations until Easter, Fat Tuesday became a day of general merriment and revelry among friends, who feasted on rich foods and drink, often to excess.
Carnival season traditionally begins on the evening of the Epiphany, on the twelfth night after Christmas. In the 1870s, a group called the Twelfth Night Revelers was formed. This group would celebrate the beginning of the Carnival season by parading and throwing trinkets to the crowds. The tradition of throwing trinkets to the crowds was born, and has become an expectation for all Mardi Gras parades. Today, these trinkets may consist of beads, candy, stuffed animals, and even painted coconuts!
In 1884, the Krewe of Rex started another tradition by throwing special medallions to the crowds. Other Krewes began having special medallions created for their parades, thus the tradition of the doubloon was born. Today’s doubloons are stamped, anodized aluminum coins that usually bear the Krewe’s emblem on one side and the year and parade theme on the other side.
Now that you know a little more about Mardi Gras, consider taking in a parade or two. There are several parades within easy driving distance: on the Gulf Coast, in Mobile, Ala., or in Slidell, La. Just remember these four words: “Throw me sumthin, Mistah!”
Crystal Dupré is publisher of The Meridian Star. E-mail her at