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Mardi Gras Costumes

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When most of us think of Mardi Gras we picture rowdy, drunken tourists crowding the narrow streets of the French Quarter in New Orleans. But there's so much more to it than that! Ask any New Orleans native. 

Mardi Gra (French for "Fat Tuesday") comes from teh catholic traditions of the earliest French settlers in Louisiana. Strictly speaking, Mardi Gras is the day before Ash Wednesday, which is the first day of the solemn season of Lent. Catholics observe lent by fasting one day each week, making a confession, and special prayers in preparation for Easter. In keeping with the penitential season, meals in Lent are simpler and use less fat and meat products than normal; in some parts of the world Lenten meals are strictly vegetarian. So the tradition arose of using up all of the butter, milk, meat and eggs in the house before Lent began, by making a rich meal (the last rich meal they will have until Easter) the night before--Fat Tuesday.

In modern times Mardi Gras is New Orleans is celebrated over several weeks, starting on Twelfth Night, January 6th, and culminating on Fat Tuesday. The date of Mardi Gras varies from year to year along with the date of Easter. So the carnival season can be as short as 3 weeks or as long as 8 weeks. The season is marked by parades and balls put on by "Krewes" or social clubs. The balls are usually formal affairs and attendance is by invitation only; debutantes are presented at Mardi Gras balls. The parades, however, are a spectacle for everyone. New Orleans natives refer to them as the Greatest Free Show on Earth.

Each Krewe sponsors its own parade, with music, floats, often celebrity guests, and trinkes such as doubloons and bead necklaces thrown to the crowds. Participants dress in themed costumes, and each Krewe has a King and a Queen, whose identities are kept secret until the parade begins. And the Krewes have colorful names, many of which are drawn from Greek mythology. Bacchus. Rex. Zeus. Endymion. Zulu. And many more.

Apart from the scheduled events, everyone wears fancy costumes or at least a mask, and dresses in the Mardi Gras colors of purple (symbolizes justice), green (symbolizes faith), and gold (symbolizes power). Festive meals includ King Cake, honoring the Three Kings who visited the infant Jesus on Twelfth Night (the feast of the Epiphany). A King Cake is a braided ring or oval of rich, buttery Danish pastry dough, decorated in the Mardi Gras colors. Before it is baked, a small--usually plastic--figure of a baby is inserted into the dough and baked in . When the cake is served, the person who receives the slice containing the figure may receive a small prize. The winner also has the privilege and responsiblity of hosting the next party.

But you don't have to live in New Orleans or be Catholic to join in the Mardi Gras fun! You can plan your own carnival party. Just decorate your home in the traditional colors, plan a festive meal, play jazz music, and wear one of our Mardi Gras costumes of masks. Mak (or order) a King Cake. Lay in a supply of beaded necklaces. And laissez les bons temps rouler! (Let the good times roll!) How ToMardi Gras Costumes
Many Ways to Dress Up for Mardi Gras

You may not have the luxury of traveling to the Big Easy to celebrate Carnival, but with our collection of Mardi Gras costumes for men and women you can bring the party to wherever you are! Make your own Fat Tuesday celebration more memorable when you wear any of these colorful options.

Men's Mardi Gras King Costume

Accept the title of Mardi Gras King and preside over the festivities that none of your friends will soon forget. With this elaborate jacket and hat set, you'll look regal while tossing beads and queueing up your favorite party play list.

Women's Mardi Gras Jester Costume

If you're thinking of playing the role of hostess, this Mardi Gras Jester costume for women is a great choice that features the official colors of green, gold and purple. It perfectly coordinates with the Mardi Gras King costume so you'll also have the option for a couple's look too.

Men's Mardi Gras Vest and Tie

If you are after something that's more formal, this exclusive Mardi Gras Vest and Tie set for men is a must have. It looks great with our purple or green tuxedo shirts or can be worn with your favorite suit for a more subtle look.

Women's Harlequin Shine Costume

This Harlequin Shine costume for women is a dazzling choice that includes a matching jester-style headpiece. Guys will be making fools of themselves not only to get into the spirit of the occasion; they'll be hoping to get the attention of the prettiest jester at the party!

Masks: A Mardi Gras Must Have

The quintessential accessory of any Mardi Gras look has to be the mask. There are so many styles and colors to pick from that it's almost too hard to know where to begin in selecting the right one. Check out a few of our favorites below.

Carnival Mardi Gras Mask

This elaborate green velvet mask has ribbons and feathers attached to the sides for a highly detailed look. It is supported by an attached headband for additional comfort.

Color Change Mardi Gras Mask

This unique mask is inspired by a jester's hat and has fabric that appears to change color as you turn in the light. It has bells attached at the tops and a headband with mesh support to keep the mask comfortably in place.

Deluxe Mardi Gras Mask

This mask has a simple design that is enhanced by its colors and details. It fades from green to purple and is covered in golden lines for an intricate look.

Black Velvet Mardi Gras Mask

If you're after a mask that is a bit less overwhelming than the others, this handsome black velvet Mardi Gras mask is perfect. It will add a festive look without lots of extra flair so that you can either let your costume be the star or keep your overall party appearance a little more low key.

Colorful Mardi Gras Accessories

Whether you are looking for party favors or the finishing touch to your costume, these Mardi Gras accessories are going to grant you an extra good time. Put the finishing touches on your Fat Tuesday celebration to make sure it's every bit as fun as a trip to New Orleans!

Colorful Mardi Gras Beads

One of the best parts of attending a parade in New Orleans is catching all of the beads and throws. Don't miss out just because you can't travel, bring the swag to you with our Mardi Gras beads. There are more than enough to share with your party guests too!

Jester Hat

Jesters are a Mardi Gras classic so you'll want to be sure to include one at your event. It can be as easy as adding this festive hat to your party outfit, and then of course acting accordingly!

Mardi Gras Tinsel Wig

This inexpensive Mardi Gras Tinsel Wig was made for partying! It's lightweight, shiny and can be worn with any outfit or costume to add some fun.

Tri-Color Wavy Mardi Gras Wig

With this tri-color wavy wig, you can take your Mardi Gras hairstyle to the next level in an instant. Featuring gorgeous purple, green and yellow waves, it is practically guaranteed to turn you into a Carnival goddess.

Printable Mardi Gras Invitation Click for Printable Mardi Gras Invitation