Mardi Gras means fat Tuesday in French. It’s the day before Ash Wednesday, the start of Lent. Although many cultures (mainly those with large Catholic populations) celebrate the day, New Orleans is famous for their public festivities. If you can’t get to the city with the famous French Quarter this month, plan a party at home.
The colors of Mardi Gras–purple, green and gold have been traditional since the 1870s. Purple represents justice, green is symbolic for faith and gold means power. (Sorry for the history lesson, but I find everything Mardi Gras not only fun, but fascinating!)
On a recent trip to Goodwill (OK, a couple Goodwill stores) I sought out items in those colors. I found a gold charger, white dinner plate, white-and-gold salad plate and a decorative appetizer dish in purple.
I lucked out when I found a pair of ceramic masks. Masks have been worn during carnival and Mardi Gras celebrations for centuries. Party-goers could escape the class system and be whomever they wanted to be. Who doesn’t like a little mystery even for a day?
I tied one of the masks around a pleated gold napkin and set the other on the stack of plates. Offer one to each guest as a party favor when they leave. If you can’t find ceramic masks, look for paper ones or make your own.
I even found the glitter letters at Goodwill. They would also be cute as a garland on a string hanging from the chandelier or on the mantle. The gold votive candle holders add to the ambiance.
Now all you need is a big pot of gumbo and a king cake for dessert.Laissez les bons temps rouler!