A Florist’s Guide to Mardi Gras

It's time for Mardi Gras
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Photo by Helena Jankovičová Kováčová

Since 1873, flowers have played an integral part in decorating Mardi Gras floats and lavish events that take place during the Carnival season.

Early Mardi Gras krewes (clubs) tossed flowers, usually aiming for female members of their families or their sweethearts. When the precious favor flew through the air, a mad scramble ensued to claim it. As Mardi Gras grew into a major tourist attraction, krewes became more creative with their throws, whipping the watchers into a frenzy over catching a prized trinket. During its 1871 parade, the Twelfth Night Revelers was the first krewe to have a masked Santa Claus throw presents to the excited crowd.

In 1890, the Jefferson City Buzzards started the tradition of trading paper flowers paraded on tall poles for kisses with pretty girls who caught their eyes. Flowers are one of the many traditions that make this celebration unique. It is impossible to count how many flowers are used in the weeks preceding Fat Tuesday in the 21st century.

For almost 140 years, Mardi Gras has been celebrated in New Orleans with colorful parades lining the streets and elegant balls held in hotel ballrooms, auditoriums, and even the Superdome.

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