Mardi Gras is a cause for celebration! Historically, Mardi Gras is French for Fat Tuesday, referring to the practice of eating richer, fattier foods the night before the Christian Lenten season begins on Ash Wednesday. However, Mardi Gras has come to mean several days of celebration or “Carnival” in cities all over the world.
In the United States, New Orleans, Louisiana hosts the most well-known Mardi Gras celebration. People flock from all over the world to experience the music, parades, costumes, picnics, and local culture in New Orleans.
- Mardi Gras arrived in North America as a French Catholic tradition in the late 17th century.
- The official colors of Mardi Gras are green, gold and purple.
- Mystical, private organizations, called Krewes, put on parades and balls for the Carnival season. There are dozens of Krewes, each with their own unique history and theme.
- Decorate (if appropriate) and host a Mardi Gras celebration at your bar or restaurant.
- If you own a bakery, advertise your ability to create custom cookies, cupcakes or King Cakes for a Mardi Gras event.
- Offer food or drink specials / discounts on Fat Tuesday.
- If your business offers catering services, create a special Mardi Gras catering menu for your customers! Offer breakfast, lunch and dinner options.
It goes without saying that food is a large part of Mardi Gras. After all, you’ve gotta get all those delicious and fattening treats before Lent starts! If you run a café, restaurant or bar, why not incorporate a few traditional New Orleans goodies into your menu? Here are some examples of food a Mardi Gras reveler might enjoy in New Orleans:
- Jambalaya (chicken and sausage stew)
- Gumbo (seafood and sausage stew)
- Boudin Balls (fried sausage)
- Cracklin’s (fried pork skin)
- Étouffées (creamy rice with shrimp or crawfish)
- Oyster Po’ Boys (fried oyster sandwich)
- Muffelettas (sub with Italian deli meats and olives)
- Red Beans & Rice
- King Cakes (a plastic baby is hidden inside this traditional pastry, it’s good luck if you find it!)
You can’t have Mardi Gras (or New Orleans, for that matter) without good music! If you can’t accommodate live music in your space, consider playing traditional New Orleans jazz, funk or instrumental brass music. It will set the tone for celebration!
The colors of Mardi Gras are purple (for justice), gold (for power) and green (for faith). An easy way to create a festive mood is to have your employees dress in these colors, or to decorate your space with colorful Mardi Gras decorations. If you run a bakery, a fun idea might be to create Mardi Gras themed cupcakes with different colored frostings.
One of the most iconic traditions of Mardi Gras is the throwing of the beads and other giveaways from various floats. Why not take that idea and make it work for your business? You can put beads at each place setting, or give away samples of new products, or come up with a branded item to give away at a special event. For a really special giveaway, you could partner with a few other local businesses to give away a trip to Mardi Gras!
Check out our Marketing Holiday Calendar for more dates to celebrate!