There are few celebrations more synonymous with Louisiana than Mardi Gras. With a rich and fascinating history coupled with iconic and lively celebrations and a slew of traditions, Mardi Gras is something to look forward to every year. Here at Billy Heroman’s, the top flower shop in Baton Rouge, LA, we are diving into our favorite ways to commemorate Mardi Gras with flowers and sharing how this festive holiday came to be.
Favorite Flowers in Official Mardi Gras Colors
You may know that the official colors of Mardi Gras are purple, green, and gold. But do you know what each Mardi Gras hue stands for? Purple represents justice, gold symbolizes power, and green signifies faith. Some of your favorite fresh flowers bloom in these official Mardi Gras colors, such as purple hyacinth, orchids, gladiolus, lisianthus, and pansies, yellow dahlias, chrysanthemums, carnations, marigolds, primroses, and yarrow, and green orchids, roses, daylilies, zinnias, gladiolus, and luscious leaves. All are perfect for celebrating Mardi Gras and incorporating into decorations both inside and outside of your home. Find out from the experts here at Billy Heroman’s how to incorporate these flowers and more into your Mardi Gras decor and festivities.
Five Ways to Incorporate Fresh Flowers into Your Mardi Gras Decorations
An iconic symbol of Mardi Gras is the elaborate masks and costumes. While anyone riding on a float, by law, must wear a mask during the parade, anyone joining in on the Mardi Gras celebration is welcomed and encouraged to do the same. Mardi Gras masks come in all shapes and styles, from half-face masks to comedy/tragedy masks, and both masks and costumes are often embellished with sequins, feathers, intricate designs, and flowers in traditional Mardi Gras colors.
King Cake Flowers
The tradition of indulging in a Mardi Gras King Cake is one of the most delicious traditions of this holiday. These oval-shaped coffee cakes are braided and covered in sugary goodness and tons of icing. They can even be decorated with fresh flowers for an extra pop of “wow.” As the tradition goes, a small plastic baby is hidden inside the King Cake, and whoever cuts the slice of cake and finds the baby is “king’ for the day and is tasked with purchasing or creating the King Cake for the following year.
Wreaths are a common decoration to celebrate Mardi Gras in the present day. As they can be hung on windows and doors, both inside and outside of the home, this is another great way to incorporate flowers into your Mardi Gras celebration. Adding your favorite blooms to a wreath made of ribbons, beads, masks, and ornaments can enhance the beauty and add to the festive tone. You can also begin with a wreath made of flowers and add tokens of Mardi Gras with mini masks, elegant ribbons, and fun strings of beads.
Decorating the front entrance of businesses or the front porch of your home is another tradition seen all around New Orleans as Mardi Gras approaches. Aside from the tried-and-true purple, green, and gold flags, bold garland, and streamers, flowers are a timeless, eye-catching, and joyous item to get your home ready for the big party. Whether they are a part of the garland or prove to be big and lush arrangements on their own, featuring the official Mardi Gras colors, there is no denying the brilliance of fresh flowers.
Parade Float Details
Whether you have the honor of bringing your ideas to life during an official Mardi Gras parade, or you need more Mardi Gras décor ideas for your home, a parade float that showcases creative blooms is an opportunity not to be missed. Add accents of flowers to your grand design or get crafty at home and make your own mini float adorned with flowers for another piece of Mardi Gras décor. After all, it is a tradition that Mardi Gras floats are home to some of the most elaborate decorations.
The Rich History of Mardi Gras
The origin of Mardi Gras can be traced to the French in the 17th century, with the traditional revelry of “Boeuf Gras,” or fatted calf. In March of 1699 – on the eve of the holiday – French-Canadian explorer Jean Baptiste Le Moyne Sieur de Bienville arrived at a port just south of New Orleans and named it “Pointe du Mardi Gras”. In 1702, Bienville established Fort Louis de la Mobile (current day Mobile) and just a year later, America’s first Mardi Gras was celebrated in this small settlement. In 1718, Bienville founded New Orleans.
Mobile established a secret society (Masque de la Mobile), which was the forerunner of modern-day Mardi Gras krewes. In 1710, the “Boeuf Gras Society” was formed, and by the 1730s, Mardi Gras was regularly celebrated – but the parades had not yet begun. In the early 1740s, Louisiana’s governor, the Marquis de Vaudreuil, instituted sophisticated society balls, which became the basis for modern New Orleans Mardi Gras balls. Today, Krewes are responsible for coordinating these balls, parades, and other Mardi Gras celebrations.
In the late 1830s, New Orleans held street processions of maskers with carriages and horseback riders, led by spectacular gaslight torches (“flambeaux”) that set a celebratory mood. In 1856, six young Mobile natives came together to form the Mistick Krewe of Comus, adding mystical magic with extravagant floats (known as tableaux cars) and masked balls. Krewe members always remained anonymous. In 1870, Mardi Gras’ second Krewe, the Twelfth Night Revelers, was established, and “throws,” beads, baubles, etc., made their first appearance. In 1875, Governor Warmoth signed the “Mardi Gras Act,” making Fat Tuesday a legal holiday in Louisiana, which it still is, known as the “Greatest Free Show on Earth!”.
All Louisiana natives hold Mardi Gras near and dear to their hearts! If you are having a party here in Baton Rouge or looking for a way to festively decorate your home or office, you can count on the expert floral designers at Billy Heroman’s to have the most amazing, magical, and flamboyant arrangements. This Fat Tuesday, celebrate in dazzling style!
Purple and Gold Spirit Bouquet