by Martha B

Mardi Gras King CakeThe origins of Mardi Gras (Fat Tuesday) are associated with the Lenten fast which begins each year on Ash Wednesday and ends on Easter Sunday.  The day before the fast originally was a day to overindulge by eating items that would be prohibited during the fast.

These days Mardi Gras (February 28 this year) provides an outlet for people to have fun whether or not they participate in the fast!

In the United States, Mardi Gras is most associated with the French Quarter of New Orleans.   Each year a King and a Queen are crowned at a Grand Ball where guests indulge their cravings for sweets by eating rich foods such as a multicolored King Cake.  A parade follows with onlookers attempting to catch shiny beads thrown to them from elaborately decorated floats.

In other places around the world, Mardi Gras is celebrated differently.  While in the Azores in 2015, our grandchildren enjoyed a water balloon fight where competitive teams of young men threw water balloons from trucks at bystanders who, in turn, hurled them back!  In the minds of young men, nothing is better fun than a water fight!

Perhaps you want to try to make a Mardi Gras King Cake? If so, you can find the recipe for the original or the easy version at   It is fun to celebrate different traditions. And, as a bonus, it makes the long winter go by more quickly!

Photo from