Mardi Gras is here! Are you celebrating? Both San Diego and San Francisco host incredible events for Mardi Gras, but before enjoying the parties, make sure that you know these Mardi Gras-related vocabulary words (and the traditions they are associated with).
Celebrating Mardi Gras in the U.S.
Mardi Gras Vocabulary
“Fat Tuesday” is the direct translation of the words “mardi gras” in French. It’s the Tuesday before Lent begins (see below) and the day when religious people celebrate before 40 days of more restrained living. For non-religious people, it’s a great excuse for a mid-week party and parade!
Lent is the Catholic tradition of giving up something you love for 40 days. It begins on Wednesday after Mardi Gras.
To give (something) up
This phrasal verb means “to stop enjoying/doing something.” Here are some examples of things people give up:
- drinking soda/sugary drinks
For lent, people give up something they love or something that isn’t good for them.
A parade is an event where people, marching bands, and decorated cars or floats slowly make their way down public streets.
Floats are large, moving stages that are decorated beautifully (and outrageously)! These floats are used in parades.
In Mardi Gras, the Venetian-style masks are a common decoration (or piece of attire)!
“Let the good times roll”
This expression is the motto of Mardi Gras. It comes from the French expression “Laissez les bons temps rouler!”
A king cake is the traditional cake eaten for Mardi Gras. A small trinket is placed inside the cake, and whoever finds the trinket in their slice of cake is either considered lucky . . . or is the person who has special responsibilities during the day. The traditions vary from family to family!
This word, commonly used in New Orleans, means “group of people on the float.”
The “throws” are the things that the krewe throws from the float, such as candy or beads.
Beads are small, (usually round) pieces of plastic that are joined together to make a necklace.
Costumes are clothing that are outrageous, colorful, or in the form of a famous person. In the U.S., we wear costumes for Halloween . . . and sometimes for Mardi Gras!
To dress up
This phrasal verb means “to wear a costume.”
Mardi Gras in San Diego
Would you like to join in on the festivities? Check out these two events held in San Diego for Mardi Gras. For these events, you must be 21 or over.
Mardi Gras in San Francisco
San Francisco’s main Mardi Gras celebration is all about the jazz! Check out this incredible parade if you are studying at CISL SF!