Time to earn your beads...it's Mardi Gras in full swing!

We love fishing in the summertime and festivals in the fall and you're not living until you've seen a Cajun Christmas, but Louisiana is the center of the universe this weekend! We're gonna get dressed up right, we're gonna dance and we're gonna parade our crazy right down the middle of the street. Mardi Gras has begun so grab your mask and hop on the float! With Fat Tuesday coming up quick, let's take a look at some of the traditions and customs that this most hallowed of all Cajun celebrations is built upon and have a little peak of what you're missing if you're not partying with us this weekend! It's never too early to plan to be here next year.

Mardi Gras was first celebrated along the Louisiana Coast as far back as 1703, with traditional New Orleans-style festivities taking shape in 1837. It's origins lie in the custom of using up your household's stores of cooking fat, sugar and libations in preparation for the ritual fasting during the Catholic observance of Lent. Replete with rich foods- gumbo and King Cake, anyone? - and plenty to drink, revelers took to wearing masks, ostensibly to obscure their identities while they misbehaved, dancing and celebrating throughout the night leading up to Ash Wednesday, the true beginning of Lent. Revelers might join a local neighborhood or regional Krewe - that's an organization that plans and hosts one of the many, many parades or marches that take place in celebration of Mardi Gras - or just let themselves get caught up in the celebration.

For most folks, Mardi Gras spirit is synonymous with Louisiana culture, and along the coast, we've got all of that spirit in spades, with celebrations meant for families and hedonists alike, taking place throughout the week leading up to Fat Tuesday. If you can get yourself to Louisiana right now, check out these celebrations taking place all along our beautiful coast as we speak, organized by parish.

Cajun Coast / St. Mary Parish

Iberia Parish

Lake Charles / Southwest Louisiana

Louisiana Northshore / St. Tammany

Houma

Bayou Lafourche

There is so much fun to be had, so many parades to march, so much gumbo to eat, so many beads to catch...we wish you'd come give us a hand in managing all of this fun! Wherever you find yourself this Mardi Gras, we hope you're celebrating, too, because remember, come Wednesday, it's time to rein it in. If you were here with us, it would take you at least half of Lent to recover! 

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