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Mardi Gras for Kids

Yvonne enjoys sharing information about the culture, history and festivals of her native state, Louisiana.

Mardi Gras Float

Storybook Float, "Throw Me Something, Mister!"

Storybook Float, "Throw Me Something, Mister!"

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

Rio's cards, T-shirts and other stuff by naturegirl7 is available at

Rio's cards, T-shirts and other stuff by naturegirl7 is available at

Cat in the Hat at Mardi Gras

I do not like green eggs and ham.

I do not like green eggs and ham.

What is Mardi Gras?

Click to buy Rio's Mardi Gras Invitation card by naturegirl7 on

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

King Rex photo by La Lagniappe is available at

King Rex photo by La Lagniappe is available at

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Celebrating Mardi Gras

Click to buy King Rex photo and products by lalagniappe on

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.

Wizard Family

Harry Potter would be proud of this family.

Harry Potter would be proud of this family.

  • 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

Mardi Gras in Covington

St. Francis and a cat enjoying a North Shore parade.

St. Francis and a cat enjoying a North Shore parade.

Please Leave a Trinket

Blackspaniel1 on December 03, 2014:

Nice hub. There is often a negative image, but not all Mardi Gras is raunchy. You just have to know where to go.

Jimmie Quick from Memphis, TN USA on February 05, 2011:

Fantastic to know that there are family friendly Mardi Gras events! It's always fun to dress up in costume and to see a parade.

Yvonne L. B. (author) from South Louisiana on February 05, 2011:

Most of the unsavory behavior is down in the French Quarter in New Orleans. There are nice parades in Metairie, Kenner and Jefferson parish that don't have the wild behavior. The floats are great and there are lots of throws.

Most of the parades on the North Shore in St. Tammany parish are nice and are family oriented.

Jimmie Quick from Memphis, TN USA on February 05, 2011:

I would love to take my daughter to Mardi Gras, but I am concerned about unsavory behavior in the crowd. I hear it gets pretty rowdy.

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