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Even though the translation of the French Mardi Gras is literally “fat Tuesday,” alluding to the last day of feasting before the fast and penitence of Lent, there are plenty who extend the party well beyond just one joyous day. Since most consider all of the Carnival celebrations (beginning on or after the Epiphany and culminating on the day before Ash Wednesday) as Mardi Gras, it’s become the all-encompassing term for “Lots and lots of celebrating, because there’s not much else to do after Christmas, and then we’re supposed to behave until Easter? Yeah, that’s gonna happen.”

Because Mardi Gras is full of color – especially it’s official purple, green and gold, selected back in 1872 – this is a great time to add as much of it as possible. The colors stand for justice, faith, and power, and whether on beads or other pieces, you can look like you partied all night in New Orleans (even if you’re stuck in Buffalo, NY). The pretty French lily called Fleur-de-lis, while not an actual Mardi Gras symbol, is so intertwined with French culture that it was naturally incorporated into decorations and jewelry related to the American celebrations.

So grab your favorite mask or costume, a handful of beads, and get ready to party no matter where you. Laissez Les Bons Temps Rouler!

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