Mardi Gras is a holiday rich in tradition. Everything about Mardi Gras represents something. What about beads? Why do we fight over them throw them from floats, and what do Mardi Gras beads represent?

Portraits Of Mardi Gras
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Why Do We Throw Mardi Gras Beads?

According to, Mardi Gras started in Medieval Europe and eventually moved to New Orleans. In 1703, the small French-Canadian settlement of Fort Louis de la Mobile held its first Mardi Gras celebration.

The idea of float throws came about in the 1870s, started by the Twelfth Night Revelers in New Orleans. They were the first to start the tradition of throwing parade goers prizes.

It wasn't until the 1920's that krewes began throwing necklaces made of small glass beads.

Throwing the beads from the floats became such a huge hit, all krewes adopted the practice, and Mardi Gras has never been the same.

But, is there a meaning behind the throwing of beads?

Well, kind of.

What Do Mardi Gras Beads Represent?


New Orleans Rebuilds As Mardi Gras Begins
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The actual colors of the beads hold more significance than the act of throwing them. Purple represents justice, Green symbolizes faith, and Gold exemplifies power.

From -

"The Mardi Gras King (New Orleans) in 1982 gave each color its own meaning: purple for justice, green means faith, and gold represent power."

The act of throwing the beads to parade goers is really just a way to get people riled up. I thought I would find that it signified the royal krewes passing magical power to those who caught beads, but nope.

It can be said that maybe it signifies the krewe's granting of justice, faith and power to all who catch the beads.

Yeah, let's go with that.

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Gallery Credit: Stacey Marcus

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