Louisiana has been celebrating Mardi Gras since 1699. The origins of Mardi Gras are thought to be from medieval Europe. And although France may have originated the idea of Mardi Gras in 1294, New Orleans perfected it. New Orleans was the first American city to celebrate Mardi Gras. The first known Mardi Gras parade took place in New Orleans in 1837.

New Orleans Mardi Gras Circa 1956
Photo by Three Lions/Getty Images

The colors of Mardi Gras are purple, green and gold. How these colors came to be is not 100% clear.

Most historians believe that the Krewe of Rex picked the three colors. One theory is that the Mardi Gras colors were chosen because of the colors of Russian Grand Duke Alexandrovich's home. Alexandrovich is said to have thrown beads of purple, green and gold in an 1872 Marid Gras parade. Another thought is that the Krewe of Rex was trying to display the colors of a kingdom and a kingdom flag must have three colors.

In 1892 the colors were officially adopted by the Krewe of Rex. Purple means justice, green is for faith and gold represents power.

Mardi Gras Bead
Photo by Michael DeMocker/Getty Images

The first all-female New Orleans Mardi Gras krewe was the Krewe of Venus.

The day before Mardi Gras is known as Lundi Gras. The day after Mardi Gras is Ash Wednesday.

Three states recognize Fat Tuesday as a holiday: Louisiana, Florida and Alabama. In Louisiana, there is a law that requires all masks to be removed on Mardi Gras day after 6 p.m.

New Orleans Mardi Gras
Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images

On average, city statistics place the annual visitors to New Orleans Mardi Gras at approximately 1.4 million.

Only In Louisiana posted 21 stunning vintage photos of Mardi Gras parades in Louisiana circa the early 1900s.

(onlyinyourstate.com, parade.com)

Acadiana's Ultimate Mardi Gras Survival Kit

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