Celebrate Mardi Gras in style!
December 10, 2009
After you've thrown out all of the crumpled holiday wrapping paper and swept up the last of the New Year's Eve confetti, things tend to quiet down and life returns to business as usual.
However, don't despair if you're feeling stuck in the wintertime doldrums. Fat Tuesday (literally Mardi Gras in French) offers a reprieve from boredom and gives you the perfect opportunity to throw an amazing Mardi Gras party that Dionysus himself would be proud of.
History of Mardi Gras
Mardi Gras originated as a Catholic celebration. The carnival always took place on the Tuesday before Ash Wednesday and existed as a way to squeeze in one last bit of gluttony and merriment before the repentant Lenten season began. However in modern times, it has become more of a general, raucous celebration for everyone.
New Orleans currently serves as a mecca for serious Mardi Gras enthusiasts. In the Big Easy, Mardi Gras is more of a season than a single day. Celebrations typically begin after Thanksgiving, and continue until Ash Wednesday. Other Mardi Gras hot spots include France, Barcelona, Rio de Janeiro and Sweden.
Party planning with Mardi Gras in mind
Keep the origins of the day in mind when you begin your Mardi Gras party planning. Send out great party invitations with confetti inside the envelope, and give guests Mardi Gras masks as party favors so that everyone can get into the spirit of the holiday.
Next, make sure that you have all of the Mardi Gras party supplies that you need. In addition to the usual Mardi Gras decorations and Mardi Gras beads, look for anything sparkly, purple or over the top. This is the time to go all out. Blow up as many helium balloons as you can to create a festival atmosphere and let them float to the ceiling. Set up candelabras everywhere and dim the lights.
Make it fancy
Mardi Gras is the perfect opportunity to host a fancy gala, if you're so inclined. Invite friends to don black-tie attire like ball gowns and tuxes. You could even choose to make it a black and white ball or base the night on a theme color something bright like purple, fuchsia or turquoise and ask guests to incorporate that into their outfits.
Or, make it a more casual party and suggest that friends wear brightly colored wigs or crazy outfits. At the door, hand out and glow sticks so that they're prepared for the festivities.
Of course, your Mardi Gras party will need music. Create a playlist that includes some classic jazz and Zydeco music to simulate the vibe of Bourbon Street. Also add a few of your favorite dance tunes to get everyone moving.
And dont forget the food
On the day of decadence, serve guests sinfully rich party foods. Because New Orleans is America's homebase for the holiday, you might consider whipping up a few Creole dishes for an authentic touch. Spicy gumbos, jambalayas, boiled shrimp, deviled eggs and stews would all be perfect for your fête.
Look up recipes from famous southern cooks like Paula Deen, who has a killer southern cornbread stuffing recipe or try out Guy Fieri's delicious black-eyed pea risotto with bacon and southern greens.
For dessert, a classic southern treat like Banana's Foster or pecan pie will top off the excesses of the day. However, if you want to be traditional, consider baking a king cake.
The king cake is a Fat Tuesday tradition dating back to the original French settlers. At the end of the night, everyone gets a piece of the cake (typically a colorfully decorate Bundt cake.) Inside one piece is a bean. Whoever finds the bean is the king for the rest of the night, and typically wears a crown of some sort for the rest of the Mardi Gras party.
From Mardi Gras beads to Mardi Gras masks to Mardi Gras decorations, you can find all the Mardi Gras party supplies for your own carnival celebration at www.windycitynovelties.com