The Importance of Beads During Mardi Gras
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The Importance of Beads During Mardi Gras

Mardi Gras is a celebration that is steeped in history. It’s known as the largest party in the United States and hundreds of thousands of people head down to New Orleans to enjoy the festivities, floats, and delicious southern food. While having a grand time in this city, one of the most common questions relates to the beads. Why are they such a big deal? The answer is surprising. We’ll answer below, along with offering other interesting tidbits about Mardi Gras traditions.

Throwing Beads

The beads used in Mardi Gras are often colored in bright gold, lush green, and rich purple. In the late 1800s, Carnival was a massive celebration held in Europe. The king chose beads to represent royalty as purple means justice, green means faith, and gold means power. At that time, the beads were tossed to people who had the attributes that corresponded to the color of the beads.

When Mardi Gras began, beads were used as a way to harken back to Carnival. At first, they were glass, but over time this has changed. Nowadays, most Mardi Gras merchandise of the beaded variety is made of aluminum or plastic.

Wearing Masks

Another tradition is the wearing of masks. In the earliest Mardi Gras celebrations, masks were used to allow everyone of any social class the chance to enjoy the celebration. With a mask on, someone would cavort with those among the upper class, middle class, and lower class with ease. It gave freedom to everyone, no matter who they were.

Today masks are still often worn on Fat Tuesday. However, if you plan to step into a shop to grab more Mardi Gras merchandise, don’t be surprised if the shopkeeper asks you to remove your mask while you shop.

Zulu Coconuts

If you aren’t familiar with the Zulu Social Aid and Pleasure Club, it is known as one of the oldest traditionally black krewes at Mardi Gras. The krewe, another word for a parade host, hands out what are known as Zulu coconuts. These are also sometimes called golden nuggets. These have been a staple of Mardi Gras since the early 1900s and continued today.

If you’re looking for someone to stock up on Mardi Gras masks, beads, or other merchandise, you can’t beat Mardi Gras Beads for Less. If you have any questions about our products, you can give us a call at 337-243-9931.