Think you know all there is to know about Mardi Gras? OK, many of you probably do.

But, because we can't parade on this Fat Tuesday, here's a little trivia fun about Carnival that might put you in a Mardi Gras mood.

And we know some of you will figure out how to make it a drinking game.

1. Although New Orleans and Rio de Janeiro are the most famous Mardi Gras venues, Carnival is celebrated in various corners of the globe. Here's how they do it in:

Nice, France — Each year, the two-week celebration revolves around a theme (in 2022 it will be "King of Animals"). The city on the French Riviera hosts parties and parades, including "flower parades," where floats are covered in flowers (think the Rose Parade in Pasadena, California), with "flower battles" on the Promenade des Anglais to determine the winner.

Venice, Italy — The Carnival, which can last from 15 to 20 days, starts with a huge celebration, Festa Veneziana, held at night on the waterways of Venice with boats and gondolas shining thousands of lights. In addition to balls and parades, there's a mask contest, a beauty pageant (Festa delle Marie) and the "Flight of the Angel" in St. Mark’s Square where someone flies on a rope from St. Mark’s Clocktower. Usually, the "angel" is the winner of the previous year’s Festa delle Marie competition.

Mobile, Alabama — Closer to home, Mobile's Mardi Gras has been parading since 1703. In addition to beads and trinkets, the city has its own special throw: Moon Pies, those oh-so-Southern marshmallow-filled graham cracker cookies dipped in chocolate. Like other spots where parades have been canceled, this year Mobile residents are decorating their homes and porches. 

2. "Throw me something mister!" Over and over, we beg float riders to toss us beads. The bigger the better. The more the better. New Orleans began the tradition of tossing throws with the Twelfth Night Revelers' parade in 1871. In 1921, the Rex Organization required riders to toss throws to the throngs, and the easiest thing to catch was beads. Glass and crystal beads of earlier days have evolved into today's plastic beads, which many krewes have customized.

No parades? No problem! Baton Rouge house 'floats' bring the Mardi Gras spirit; here's a list

3. Rex also is responsible for the traditional colors of Mardi Gras — purple, green and gold. Rex introduced the trio in 1872 and later assigned each a meaning: gold for power, green for faith and purple for justice. Why they were originally chosen is up for debate. Some claim these were the royal colors of Russian Grand Duke Alexis Romanoff and honored his visit to New Orleans at Mardi Gras in 1872.

4. Mardi Gras isn’t the only name for the day before Ash Wednesday. It’s also called Shrove Tuesday or Pancake Tuesday by some Christian traditions. Shrove is derived from “shrive,” which means “confess,” as the day gives the faithful the opportunity to seek atonement in advance of the Lenten season. Pancake Tuesday references the opportunity for a hearty meal that uses up eggs, butter and sugar before Lenten fasts begin.

5. Although it's scheduled based on the Christian calendar, the ancient roots of Mardi Gras are thought to extend to pagan fertility celebrations, such as the Roman festival of Lupercalia, which took place on Feb. 15. When Christianity flourished in Rome, church leaders tried to win hearts and minds by incorporating such traditions into the faith rather than getting rid of them.


Email George Morris at gmorris@theadvocate.com.