Do you celebrate Mardi Gras in your home? Mardi Gras, which translates to Fat Tuesday, in French. Is a traditional last hurrah before the season of Lent begins, and is celebrated the Tuesday before Ash Wednesday. It is customary to “feast” one last time on the things that we abstain from during Lent. I know there are a lot of less-than-holy festivities that surround some of the more popular Mardi Gras festivities—but that doesn’t mean we can’t celebrate in our own homes in a slightly more wholesome manner!
Here are 5 fun Mardi Gras traditions that you might want to try this year:
Pancake Dinner– Pancakes are popular for Mardi Gras in many cultures…in some places they even call it Pancake Tuesday! This was our tradition growing up, we always had Pancakes for dinner on Mardi Gras, although we called it Fat Tuesday. There are also several places where it is tradition to do a pancake race. Here is a fun article about the origin of the race and a friendly competition that continues between Liberal, Kansas and Olney, England. If you wanted to do a pancake race around your house, I think that would be quite festive, but pancakes are a nice tradition either way. If you want to punch up your festivities you could make the pancakes green, yellow and purple to represent the colors of Mardi Gras or add whipped cream with green, yellow and purple sprinkles.
Mardi Gras Masks– Masks have been a part of Mardi Gras celebrations for hundreds of years. I read that the masks originally allowed Mardi Gras goers to escape the class constraints of the time, people could mingle with people of all classes without breaking social norms. Wearing and decorating masks could be a really fun tradition to incorporate into your celebration at home. HERE is a free mask template that you can download to color and decorate. I plan to use the templates to cut out masks from felt (because I have a slight obsession with felt) and then we can add jewels, feathers and elastic to wear them. If you are looking for a ready to go mask there are some pretty affordable packages on Oriental Trading.
Mardi Gras Blessing– I was inspired by THIS post on Cathfamily. I loved their Mardi Gras Blessing and the way that it was an interactive form of prayer. I created a prayer card as well as little ALLELUIA pennants for my kids to wave during the blessing. The pennants are made out of….you guessed it, FELT. I used my cutting machine to cut out heat transfer vinyl and then hot glued the pennants to skewer sticks and added ribbon. If you don’t have a way to cut out heat transfer you could definitely use cardstock and markers to make the pennants! These pennants are also a two for one on the traditions list, because you can use them to Bury the Alleluia.
Bury the Alleluia– This could be done at the end of your Mardi Gras celebration or on Ash Wednesday, but you simply bury or hide a banner, or the pennants from above that say Alleluia. It is tradition to not say/sing Alleluia during Lent. It is even removed from parts of the Mass. Alleluia is considered the highest form of praise and a term of great joy. It is therefore not said or sung during Lent, since Lent is a solemn time of repentance. I’m excited to use the pennants this year. Since they are on the skewers I plan to unbury them and stick them in the ground on Easter morning when I hide Easter eggs. I love the idea of finding the eggs and ALLELUIA during the hunt!
Make Shoe Box Floats– This is an activity we haven’t tried, but I think we might add it to our day this year, since we are homeschooling and have a little extra time to devote to these type of festivities. I think my boys will enjoy creating a “float” from an old shoe box…although if I’m honest it will probably be an old amazon box! We will probably have left over feathers and jewels from the masks that we could repurpose, and the floats will be perfect decorations for our festivities.
You can download the blessing card below, or grab a printable version from CathFamily!
Do you have any fun Mardi Gras Traditions? What are you going to incorporate this year? I would love to hear!