Mardi Gras festivities prompt celebration and unity


Maddie Hooper '24

Mardi Gras encourages unity and celebration throughout the world.

People around the world celebrate Mardi Gras by attending balls and parades that feature artwork and music January 6 to March 1.  Although it was originally a Roman Catholic festivity, people of different religions now celebrate the holiday with parties and colorful decorations, according to   Charlotte Johnston, a student in eighth grade at Academy of the Sacred Heart in New Orleans, Louisiana described her city’s Mardi Gras traditions.

Students at the Academy of the Sacred Heart in New Orleans participate in many traditions in honor of the holiday. Courtesy of ash

The Roman Catholic faith celebrates Mardi Gras in preparation for Lent.  Mardi Gras translates to “Fat Tuesday” in French, representing the Catholic tradition of feasting before a 40 day Lenten fast.  Although the celebrations remain prevalent in predominantly Roman Catholic countries, the United States (US) still participates in the holiday.  New Orleans holds the most extravagant Mardi Gras celebrations in the US because of the high French population living in the region since the sixteenth century, according to

Louisiana made Mardi Gras an official state holiday in 1875.  The Mardi Gras celebration in New Orleans attracts a large number of tourists each year.  People adorn the city streets with purple, green, and gold decorations and attend parades.  Social clubs, or “krewes,” organize the festive parades.  Members of the krewes will stand on floats and throw trinkets and candy into the crowds during the procession.  Charlotte noted how seniors at Academy of the Sacred Heart uphold this tradition.

“The day before we get out for Mardi Gras break, the seniors have a mini-parade called the Krewe of Fluff,” Charlotte said.  “They throw the whole school beads and candy.”

Sacred Heart Greenwich’s sister school in New Orleans, Louisianna celebrates Mardi Gras. Courtesy of

In addition to parades, many New Orleans residents attend masquerade balls.  Attendees consume King Cake with purple, green, and gold-colored frosting.  Another tradition is hunting for a plastic baby Jesus inside the delicacy.  Whoever gets a baby in their piece of cake receives luck and prosperity.  Charlotte described how Academy of the Sacred Heart incorporates King Cakes during Mardi Gras.

“Every Friday at lunch, one person from each advisory brings King Cake, a traditional Mardi Gras treat,” Charlotte said.  “They share the King Cakes with their advisory.”

Because of its location in New Orleans, Mardi Gras is an important tradition to Academy of the Sacred Heart.  Charlotte emphasized how the celebration creates a tight-knit community in the school and surrounding city.

“Mardi Gras is so important to New Orleans in many different ways,” Charlotte said.  “It brings people together to celebrate and creates unity.  I am so lucky to experience it each year.”

Featured Image by Maddie Hooper ’24