Balls take place throughout
Louisiana with a Carnival theme. Most include tableaux, or scenes with
honorary royalty. Some now have entertainment and dinner inside a large
Beads are freely thrown
from floats to the public. They were made of glass until they realized
it was too dangerous and started producing plastic beads mainly from Hong Kong.
is the fatted ox, or the symbol of the last meat eaten before Lent.
A live boeuf gras was in Rex but is not in Rex now.
The captain is the head organizer of each
krewe and rides in the parade by a horse or float. His identity is usually
secret and he organizes the parade annually unless he quits or dies.
Carnival is the season of merriment
from January 6 until Mardi Gras. To Christians it is also referred to as
Epiphany. The Latin word carnivale loosely translates to
"farewell to flesh." Carnival was created by the Catholic Church so people
didn't have to be serious before the serious Lent season.
The doubloon was created by H. Alvin
Sharpe and is a krewe imprinted aluminum coin thrown by krewe members to
Fat Tuesday is the English word for
Flambeaux are gas-fueled torches that
used to be the only source of lighting for nighttime parades.
A float is a decorated vehicle that the krewe members
ride on and throw
beads to the public. They are decorated according to the
parade's theme and are made in giant warehouses. Some now have fibre optic
lighting as a visual effect.
The king is an honorary ruler of a parade and
is a celebrity in the new super krewes' parades. The king is usually
chosen by the krewe and is a big part of the balls.
King cake is a coffee-cake with icing and sprinkles
the colors of Mardi Gras. A plastic baby doll is hidden inside to
determine who will host the next party or buy the next cake.
The krewe is the group of riders who
participate in a parade.
A lady-in-waiting is a member of the
Lent is a serious Christian season that
begins Ash Wednesday, the day after Mardi Gras, and lasts until Easter Sunday.
Many people fast or give up something during Lent as preparation for the
crucifixion and resurrection of Christ.
Lundi Gras is the Monday before Mardi Gras with several parades and
Rex's arrival by steamboat. The word is French for Fat Monday.
A maid is a member of the krewe's court
and often a debutante.
Mardi Gras is French for Fat Tuesday
and is the last day of Carnival with several parades.
Mardi Gras Indians are African-Americans
dressed with elaborate Indian costumes and march on their own parade route
during the Carnival season.
A page is a young boy and a member of
the krewe's court.
A parade is performed by a krewe and
consists of floats and marching bands.
The queen is
usually a debutante an honorary ruler over the krewe.
A signature float is owned by a krewe
and does not change in appearance. It parades every year in the same
A super krewe is a large krewe with
large floats. All three have supper dances after the parades and a
celebrity reigns as the monarch and also provides entertainment at the
A supper dance is an adaptation of
the original tableau ball and all three major super krewes have one with
entertainment and food.
A tableau ball was the original form
of the Carnival ball and consists of a krewe's court.
The title float is different every
announces the theme of a parade.
Twelfth Night is the last night of
Christmas and supposedly is when the wise men saw Jesus. It is the
official beginning of the Carnival season.