Mardi Gras, the French term for “Fat Tuesday,” originated in medieval Europe as a grand celebration the day before Ash Wednesday and the beginning of the Lent season in the Christian calendar. The holiday was first established in North America in 1699 after French-Canadian explorer Pierre Le Moyne d’Iberville arrived in what would later be called New Orleans. Ever since, Mardi Gras has become synonymous with Bourbon Street in New Orleans, colorful parades and accessories, and free spirited parties open to all people regardless of their religion or background.
Mardi Gras 2019 falls on March 5, and while you probably don’t want to get quite as wild as some people on Bourbon Street, it represents a unique opportunity to throw a fun and memorable party for your office or workplace. Let’s take a look at some tips for throwing a Mardi Gras office party.
Party favors and handouts are a must
Mardi Gras celebrations and parades are known for their elaborate outfits and accessories. Beads are the most well known example of Mardi Gras party favors, and they should be one of the first items on your party shopping list. Jester hats, cardboard crowns, and plastic gold coins are just a few other holiday accessories known to be handed out at Mardi Gras parties. If you want to go the extra mile, light up necklaces or glasses are sure to bring out some festive energy at your office party.
If your Mardi Gras party is being thrown to commemorate a special occasion or achievement in your company you may want to offer a raffle or giveaway featuring items such as gift cards or coffee gifts.
Make sure the colors are right
Green, gold, and purple are the iconic colors of Mardi Gras. These colors have been associated with the holiday for over 100 years thanks to the “Krewe of the Rex,” a New Orleans social club that has been organizing Mardi Gras celebrations since the 19th century. Gold is said to signify power, green represents faith, and purple signifies justice. When your fellow co-workers see decorations, beads, and lights in these colors Mardi Gras will immediately come to mind.
No party is complete without the right food
What would an office party be without snacks? While most of your co-workers have probably grown tired of the pizza or Italian subs that are usually served at office parties, traditional Mardi Gras food is certain to be a welcome change of pace. No Mardi Gras party is complete without a King cake, large donut shaped pastries covered in green, gold, and purple icing
This holiday treat offers another interesting feature: a few king cakes from each batch contain a small plastic baby baked inside. The lucky person who discovers a baby in their cake gets to be “king of the day.” The origins of this peculiar tradition are still debated today, and while some say it dates back hundreds of years, one theory states that a New Orleans baker in the 1940s simply had too many porcelain baby dolls laying around and decided to put them to use.
If you’re looking for something a bit more spicy, traditional New Orleans cuisine such as jambalaya, seafood gumbo, or Creole crab cakes are sure to spice things up. Additionally, consider making daiquiris or hurricanes, common adult beverages found and devoured by the masses on Bourbon Street.
Hold a costume contest
Costumes are a big part of Mardi Gras, and that can be a fun idea to incorporate into your party. Typical Mardi Gras costumes include kings, queens, and jesters, but that doesn’t have to be the case for your celebration. Give your co-workers enough notice to prepare a costume and hold a vote the day of your party to crown a Mardi Gras costume king or queen.
With all of these tips in mind, your office Mardi Gras party is sure to be a hit.