A Newcomer’s Look on Mardi Gras Traditions

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King Cake decorated in the traditional Mardi Gras colors is a popular dessert to serve after a long time of collecting beads and dub loons. 

As someone who was not born in the United States, Mardi Gras was one of the American celebrations that I didn’t really know much about. The only source for Mardi Gras I could remember watching was Disney’s “The Princess and the Frog.”

It’s an alright source and an underrated movie but even though it was set during Mardi Gras, it didn’t really go in depth to any famous traditions of the festivities. A quick Google search was needed to find the top three most fun traditions to me.


The tradition taking the number three spot was the Krewes. They are known as social groups who put on parades or host Mardi Gras balls each season. Some are known to be exclusive about their membership while others are more open.

I think of this almost as a get-together with friends where it adds to the fun of Mardi Gras, with many different groups joining the celebrations. It would give a name to the groups that I’ve seen in the Disney movie as well as a few clips from TV.

2) Beads and Doubloons

Taking the spot of number two was the beads and doubloons. Each Krewe throws beads to onlookers and some have their own doubloons, a signature coin, that are sought after. The Krewe members throw other things such as trinkets and toys as well.

I consider this a good way to remember your first Mardi Gras and to earn enough trinkets to weigh your body down. I have seen pictures of the beads and trinkets that people had gotten from past Mardi Gras parades and it gave a light-hearted feel to the festivities.

1) King Cake

Taking the number one spot was the King Cake. King Cake is a cinnamon cake that requires inserting a small, plastic baby into a ring-shaped cake that is covered in icing decorated with the colors of Mardi Gras. Whoever gets the slice of cake with the baby in it was declared a “king” and has the role of buying the King Cake next year.

I have actually heard of this tradition, but I never knew it was related to Mardi Gras. This tradition looked fun and I can imagine the tension of trying to find out who has the plastic baby in their slice of cake.

In general, Mardi Gras has had a long history in the United States. In my opinion, the festival is one of the many celebrations that makes the country distinctive.