Mardi Gras Quiz
King Cakes are a popular Mardi Gras tradition. Inside the cake is hidden a:
- King Cakes are large, round cinnamon rolls covered with white icing and sprinkled with the Mardi Gras colors. A plastic baby the size of an almond is hidden inside. Whoever finds the baby is the next king or queen and must host the next King Cake party.
This relatively small country features one of the largest Carnival celebrations in the world:
- The Port of Spain in Trinidad and Tobago boasts one of the world's largest Carnival celebrations, dating back to the arrival of French planters in the late 1700s. Today, the Carnival season begins soon after Christmas and reaches a crescendo on Carnival Tuesday. The festivities feature plenty of calypso music, often played by Trinidad's distinctive steel-drum bands.
In New Orleans, La., Mardi Gras celebrations are centered around this famous neighborhood:
- New Orleans's fabled French Quarter, a neighborhood along Bourbon Street, is the center of Mardi Gras activities. The Latin Quarter is a famous section of Paris, while "Sin City" is a name applied to any wild town, especially Las Vegas.
The religious name for Mardi Gras is:
- Shrove Tuesday, the day before Ash Wednesday, is the religious name for Mardi Gras. Whitsunday is an English name for Pentecost, an important Jewish and Christian feast that falls later in the spring.
In Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, the Mardi Gras celebration is known as:
- The Brazilian celebration is called Carnival. Portuguese immigrants first celebrated Carnival in Rio in the early 1800s with a game called entrudo, during which poor people sprayed each other with mud and sewage, while the elite used perfume sprays. The first masked ball was held in 1840, while the first street parades took place a few years later. They have evolved into a vast spectacle involving thousands of participants and hundreds of thousands of spectators. Samba schools, usually representing poor neighborhoods, compete in an official parade, preparing lavish floats featuring dozens of costumed dancers.
New Orleans and Mardi Gras are often associated with this type of music:
- Around 1900 in New Orleans there was increasing interaction between poor black musicians, whose drum playing was influenced by African musical styles, and mixed-race Creoles, who were trained in European classical music. The fusion of the various traditions created jazz, which soon spread up the Mississippi River to Memphis and Chicago, and across the country to Harlem, New York. Today many marching bands play New Orleans jazz, or Dixieland, when they march through the city during Mardi Gras.
"Mardi Gras" actually means:
- "Mardi Gras" is French for "Fat Tuesday," the day before Ash Wednesday. As the last day before the fasting season of Lent, it is the last time to feast and be merry.
The young of all ages line the Mardi Gras parade route hoping to catch special coins tossed from the floats. The coins are known as:
- Doubloons, the name of old Spanish gold coins, are decorated with the logos of the different krewes and tossed to parade spectators. They are highly sought after. Centimes are former French coins of small denomination.
The Mardi Gras colors are:
- In 1872 Russian grand duke Alexis Romanoff visited New Orleans during Mardi Gras. A group of businessmen organized the Krewe of Rex to hold a parade and named a king and queen for the day, a tradition that has endured. They also used the colors of the House of Romanoff: purple for justice, green for faith, and gold for power. These have remained the official colors of Mardi Gras.
Many Mardi Gras events are organized by private clubs known as:
- "Krewe" is a fanciful spelling of "crew." In 1857 a group of men founded the Krewe of Comus, because they feared the wild antics at Mardi Gras would prompt the authorities to stop the celebrations. They felt a secret organization might have a better chance of surviving. Since then, a number of other krewes have been established.