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See the fact file below for more information on Mardi Gras or alternatively, you can download our comprehensive worksheet pack to utilise within the classroom or home environment.
- Many believe that Mardi Gras has its roots in ancient Roman spring festivals of Saturnalia and Lupercalia. Both included feasting, masquerades, and sports competitions.
- During the Middle Ages, Christians would indulge themselves in food and drinks the night before the start of fasting, Ash Wednesday. In England, it was a day of confession in preparation for the coming Lent. By the 12th century, French people included eating of king cake as part of the growing tradition.
- In 1582, Pope Gregory XIII added Mardi Gras to Christian holidays. It became an extravagant celebration of Christians in Europe. By the early 18th century, the tradition reached Northern America.
- In 1699, the French-Canadian LeMoyne brothers led the defense claim of Louisiana territory. The site near present-day New Orleans was named as Point du Mardi Gras because they arrived the night before the Mardi Gras celebration in Paris.
- The first Mardi Gras was celebrated in Fort Louis de la Mobile, now known as Mobile, Alabama. Years later, it became a popular celebration in New Orleans. The festival began as part of the French Catholic tradition, usually through dance balls.
Mardi Gras Celebration
- In 1856, The Mistick Krewe of Comus became the first roll of floats in New Orleans.
- By 1870, parades in New Orleans started the tradition of throwing items. Five years later, Mardi Gras became an official holiday in Louisiana.
- Today, people in New Orleans celebrate Mardi Gras regardless of religious affiliation. Schools and businesses close for people to participate in the annual parade and festivities.
- In many countries, Mardi Gras is celebrated as the last day of the Carnival season. Mexicans call it Martes de Carnaval, while Germans name the celebration Karneval. In Italy it is called Martedi Grasso.
- In Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, Canada and England, Mardi Gras is also celebrated as Pancake Day, where people indulge in eating pancakes.
- Mardi Gras decorations are filled with the symbolic colors of purple, gold and green. Purple represents justice, gold stands for power, while green symbolizes faith.
- During the 1920s, masked people from the float started to throw inexpensive glass necklaces and colored beads into the crowd.
- In New Orleans, the city chooses a Rex each year. The Rex, or King of the Carnival, is usually a famous resident of the city. The Russian Grand Duke Romanoff was the first Rex of
- Mardi Gras when he visited New Orleans for the celebration. A Queen was added to the festivities for her to receive the King’s kiss during
- People riding the float wear masks to let go of social constraints at least for a day. The practice allows them to mingle with all kinds and classes of people.
- Through time, Mardi Gras came to be celebrated around the world regardless of religious beliefs. In Australia, one Mardi Gras festivity encourages acceptance of homosexuality. In addition, Italians host the Battle of Oranges during Mardi Gras.
- Even though Fat Tuesday falls on a different day each year, Carnival season begins on King’s Day in New Orleans. The King’s Day, also known as Feast of the Epiphany, is celebrated every January 6.
- There have been several times when Mardi Gras celebrations were cancelled, including during the Civil War, WWI, WWII, and the outbreak of yellow fever in the 1870s.
- Krewes are private clubs that hold parades and balls in New Orleans at Mardi Gras.
- Aside from New Orleans, Mardi Gras is hugely celebrated in Galveston, Texas. Moreover, Rio de Janeiro hosts one of the largest in the world.
- In 2013, some floats for the Mardi Gras parade were pushed back because New Orleans was also hosting the Super Bowl. To control and accommodate the flow of the crowd for both events, the 12-day parade was extended.
- Mardi Gras Indians hold their parades in a more discreet and secretive way unlike the usual krewe sponsored parades.
Mardi Gras Worksheets
This bundle includes 11 ready-to-use Mardi Gras worksheets that are perfect for students to learn about Mardi Gras, also known as Fat Tuesday and Shrove Tuesday, which is an annual religious celebration that occurs a day before Ash Wednesday. It marks the beginning of Lent, the “last hurrah” of sorts, wherein participants celebrate with parades, masquerade balls, and indulgence to guilty pleasures.
This download includes the following worksheets:
- Mardi Gras Facts
- Mardi Gras Around the World
- Colors of Mardi Gras
- Mardi Gras Traditions
- Festival Terms
- Behind the Mask
- Info Webbing
- Mark Your Calendar
- Christian Religious Festivals
- Fact or Bluff
- Picture Perfect
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Use With Any Curriculum
These worksheets have been specifically designed for use with any international curriculum. You can use these worksheets as-is, or edit them using Google Slides to make them more specific to your own student ability levels and curriculum standards.