Mardi Gras for Kids
Mardi Gras Float
Mardi Gras Family Fun
Mardi Gras is celebrated by many people, all over the world. And in Louisiana it is said to be the biggest free show on earth. It is part of our culture and history. This label is probably one of the reasons that many people think of Mardi Gras as a heathen festival and don't realize that this time, before Lent, has been set aside for parties and revelry so that believers can be ready to fast and pray during the Lenten season.
Mardi Gras is not just celebrated, in New Orleans. There are towns, large and small, all over Louisiana that have parades, balls and parties to celebrate Mardi Gras the way it used to be done - as a family affair. Through the years, we have enjoyed many parades (in New Orleans and also in Baton Rouge and Covington) and have taken hundreds of Mardi Gras pictures of creative costumes, floats, celebrities and people having fun.
Mardi Gras is filled with pageantry and tradition so, here in Louisiana, the holiday lends itself to units of study, especially those which concentrate on the arts. When I was a school librarian, I worked cooperatively with teachers to plan thematic units, complete with activities and trade (library) books. There are many Mardi Gras picture books that are good to read aloud to children. The illustrations are colorful and entertaining.
I'd like to share a few of my favorite children's Mardi Gras books and costumes. You'll also find information about the customs and history of Mardi Gras.
Listen to the Mardi Gras music while you browse
Rio's Mardi Gras
Cat in the Hat at Mardi Gras
Learn all about the Carnival celebration around the world. It's not just in Louisiana.
What is Mardi Gras?
The date of Mardi Gras (Fat Tuesday) is different each year because it is celebrated 40 days before Easter. The Mardi Gras season begins on Janurary 6, Twelfth Night, and ends on Mardi Gras day at 12:00 midnight. Ash Wednesday begins the solemn time called Lent which ends on Easter Sunday. Mardi Gras and Lent are religious holidays, but many non-Catholics celebrate on Fat Tuesday.
Future Mardi Gras Dates
February 9, 2016
February 28, 2017
February 13, 2018
March 5, 2019
February 25, 2020
February 16, 2021
Mardi Gras Related Children's Books
Mardi Gras and Carnival is a colorful book by Molly Aloian which has wonderful pictures and good information.
A Mardi Gras Dictionary by Beverly Barras Vidrine will give you the ABC's of Mardi Gras.
Jenny Giraffe's Mardi Gras Ride by Cecilia Casrill Dartez takes you through the preparation of a Mardi Gras parade and other parts of the celebration.
On Mardi Gras Day by Fatima Shaik, we see Mardi Gras through the eyes of a pair of New Orleans children and learn about the Mardi Gras Indians, Zulu parade and Rex parade.
Rex King of Mardi Gras
Gaston the green-nosed alligator explains all about the celebration in this delightful book by James Rice.
Celebrating Mardi Gras
In Louisiana, we celebrate Mardi Gras with parades, music, grand balls, costumes (which we call masking), King cakes and trinkets like doubloons, beads, cups and toys called throws. The colors are purple (which represents justice), green (which stands for faith) and gold (which signifies power). There are groups called Krewes and each Krewe has a king and queen. Most Krewes have balls and parades.
There are several entertaining books about celebrating Mardi Gras. Two of my favorites are Gaston Goes to Mardi and Mimi's First Mardi Gras.
In D.J. and the Zulu Parade by Denise Walter McConduit, we are entertained by D. J.'s experiences of serving as a page on Queen Zulu's float.
Timothy Hubble and the King Cake Party by Anita C. Prieto is a delightful book about a little boy, who just moved to New Orleans and his first King Cake party.
Mardi Gras Masking
Mardi Gras in Louisiana's small towns is a family affair. Everyone, even the family dog, wears a costume to the parades. Some teachers in the lower grades plan units which include a Mardi Gras parade, complete with little floats and costumes.
Many revelers make their own costumes, but there are some precious ready made costumes for the little ones to wear. Adult versions are also available to make Mardi Gras a family affair.
Costumes for Children
This would make a great addition to a family of wizards or a Harry Potter group. The Sorcerer's Apprentice also comes to mind.
Links to More Louisiana Mardi Gras
- Mardi Gras on New Orleans' NorthShore
If you enjoy Mardi Gras, but don't want to brave the hustle and bustle of New Orleans, then Carnival on the North Shore is the place for you and your family. There are plenty of parades, costumes and throws and the pace is much slower and more family