Mardi Gras rolls around on Tuesday, February 13 this year. We say it's high time to get into the party spirit and laissez les bon temps rouler!* Here's everything you need to host a fun, festive Mardi Gras party.
Try this recipe: Storm of the Century Hurricane
The Feast Before the Fast
Mardi Gras translate as "fat Tuesday" in French. What's so fat about Fat Tuesday? Well, after Fat Tuesday comes Ash Wednesday, aka the first day of Lent. So Fat Tuesday's your last chance to party hearty and indulge in rich food and drink before you give it all up for Lent.
For serious party people in New Orleans, Mardi Gras means more than just one wild night. It's a whole "carnival" season that starts 12 nights after Christmas (aptly named Twelfth Night) and goes all the way to midnight on Fat Tuesday. Throughout the weeks of carnival season, Mardi Gras revelers dress up in masked costumes and take to the streets with food, drink, music, and parades. And the closer it gets to Lent, the wilder the parties get.
DIY Mardi Gras
If you're not heading to New Orleans, you can still celebrate by gathering your krewe for a wild night of hurricanes, gumbo, and king cake. We've got recipes and ideas galore.
Need some decoration inspiration? In New Orleans, traditional Mardi Gras colors are purple, gold, and green. You can take it from there with beads, flowers, balloons, and streamers. And since Mardi Gras is about excess, let your motto be, "Why decorate when you can overdecorate?"
How about going with a Mardi Gras mask-making party? Raid a craft store for blank masks, feathers, beads, sequins, glitter, and paints. Then everyone can vote for the most fabulous creations. Maybe the grand prize is a bottle of bourbon (for Bourbon Street, get it?).
This is not a night to shy away from the bold Creole and Cajun flavors of The Big Easy. There's a whole world of Mardi Gras recipes you could explore. But if you're looking for a starting point, give these top-rated recipes a try:
More Mardi Gras favorites:
Buttermilk Hush Puppies
Chef John's Sausage & Shrimp Jambalaya
Cajun Crawfish and Shrimp Etouffe
Authentic Louisiana Red Beans and Rice
Get more recipes for Mardi Gras main dishes.
The Sweet Life
Watch and learn as Chef John demos how to make flaming Bananas Foster.
Go on and treat yourself to more Mardi Gras desserts.
That's the Spirit!
People have been known to have a drink or three on Mardi Gras. Here are some favorites.
All Hail the King Cake
An essential Mardi Gras tradition, king cake is shaped into a ring and decorated with green, purple, and gold. But there's more: A tiny plastic baby is baked into the cake, and the guest who gets the piece containing the baby has to host the festivities next year.