I've never celebrated Mardi Gras. Growing up Lutheran, I knew that Lent followed the time after Epiphany and preceded Holy Week on the liturgical calendar, but Lent was just a season for us. My family didn't not abstain from sugar or soda or meat or TV or whatever like my Catholic friends did. Because we didn't abstain from anything, there wasn't a reason to have a big party and feast before the depravation began. Hence, I always thought of Mardi Gras as a Catholic party, one to which I might have been welcome but wasn't really invited.
We spent Christmas 2019 in New Orleans and my perspective on Mardi Gras completely changed. Visiting Mardi Gras World in particular opened my eyes to the joy and spectacle of the holiday. We tried king cake for the first time and watched the massive floats being built and I began to understand Mardi Gras as a cultural celebration rather than (or in addition to) a religious one. I made a king cake necklace soon after we got home and I look forward to February 16 when I'll wear it again. At home, of course.
Wisely, New Orleans will not be celebrating Mardi Gras 2021 with parades or gatherings, to avoid the spread of COVID-19. Instead, people are encouraged to celebrate at home. I'm going to be sharing a few ideas for a family-friendly Mardi Gras celebration at home. First, a paper plate king cake craft. Affiliate links below.
Paper Plate King Cake
Paint the outside edge of the paper plate Camel. The paint should extend about an inch from the edge.
Mix equal parts Titanium White, water, and flour in a small container. Stir until completely mixed and is the consistency of frosting. If it is too thick to spread, add a few drops of water at a time until it is spreadable. If it is too thin, add a spoon of flour at a time until it resembles frosting. Use the plastic knife to spread the mixture onto the plate, leaving the painted edge exposed.
Sprinkle glitter onto the wet flour mixture, alternating between gold/yellow, green, and purple. Aim for nine sections (three of each color).
Let the paint dry completely (overnight is best) then shake off an excess glitter. For extra fun, tape a plastic baby to the underside of your paper plate king cake. (If you find it later, you get to do an extra craft!)