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Why Look For Mardi Gras When You Can Make It Yourself?

Among Valentines and Leap Days, there is a celebration that often goes unconsidered in February: Mardi Gras. Meaning "Fat Tuesday" in French, Mardi Gras has French roots, as one could imagine. In order to spare an exhaustive explanation, Mardi Gras can be simply described as a massive, day-long party held on the Tuesday before Ash Wednesday. Parades, masquerade balls, and all other manners of merriment abound! Unfortunately, Mardi Gras festivals only really happen in cities with large Catholic populations, so they aren't readily available near South Carolina. Fear not, I've the perfect remedy! Arts and crafts! Even with no connection to a proper Mardi Gras celebration, you can pretend like you're having as much fun as everyone else by making little trinkets that remind you of one!

One of my favorite Mardi Gras traditions is the wearing of masks. I just LOVE the aesthetic of masquerades. For this craft, all you need is a sheet of paper and a hand (if you can't use yours, store-bought is fine). Make two outlines of a hand on a sheet of paper, and cut them out. Attach the paper hands together as in the picture, and make holes about where your eyes should go. Voila! There's plenty of room to experiment with different colors and designs, but that's your staring point.

Another notable Mardi Gras happening is the tossing of bead necklaces from floats during parades. If you can't find the dollar store (it eludes me as well), you can make your own beads! Take some sticky notes or scrap magazines, and cut them in strips, about 3-4 per note, and similar width for magazines. Take the strips and roll them tightly, and done! That's a bona fide homemade bead! Make lots more and tape them shut tight, and put em on a string! That's a bead necklace, and you made it yourself! The beads shown below are made of magazines, and probably look better than what you'll make, and that's okay!

During Mardi Gras, people like to put babies in cakes. Well, not REAL babies. Go find a plastic baby (don't ask me) and bake into a cake! It's that simple! Take your favorite cake recipe, or a recipe you happen to want to eat that isn't necessarily your favorite, and just toss a baby into the batter! Whoever gets the slice with the baby in it wins! Wins what, you ask? That's your problem.

Something I love, that Mardi Gras has an affinity with, is jesters. Their funny little hats, it's marvelous! I highly recommend that you make your own! Make a strip of paper, by folding or cutting, and fasten into a circle, with tape or staples and the like. Now, make many colorful little strips of paper and glue them around the circle, until you reach desired jesterness. If you have bells available, it is required by federal law that you make your jester hat jingle, so attach bells to the ends of the jester tentacles if you can! Otherwise don't wear it in public, un-jingling jester hats are a federal crime.

Bust out the brushes, because it's paint time! There is a Mardi Gras tradition of adorning coconuts with all sorts of painted patterns. A good coconut may be hard to find, so you can always substitute any roughly sphere-shaped object. You can paint anything you please, so do exactly that! If you don' know where to start, ask the internet for inspiration! You can find all sorts of beautiful painted coconuts, like the one below.

Look at all that Mardi Gras fun, and all that fun can be YOURS, without even leaving your home! It's no festival, but it's something that you can have all sorts of fun with, if you have the right attitude!