why do people throw beads on mardi gras

So what are throws? Well, they are exactly what they sound like - items that krewe members on floats throw to parade-goers as the floats pass by! Throws often include doubloons, beads, cups, homemade trinkets, toys and more! The throwing of trinkets to the crowds was started in the early 1870s by the Twelfth Night Revelers, and is a time-honored expectation for young and old alike.

In 1884 (over 125 years ago), Rex started using medallions instead of trinkets. These medallions are represented by today s doubloons. These doubloons are aluminum and anodized in many different colors. They depict the parade theme on one side and the Krewe s emblem on the other.

They have become collectors items. In the Bacchus parade, the King s float throws doubloons with the image of the celebrity king on one side of the doubloon. If you re lucky enough to catch one, hold onto it! Other popular throws include cups (otherwise known as New Orleans dinnerware), long pearl beads and stuffed animals.

Be warned! If you re at your first parade and reach down to pick up a doubloon with your hand, your fingers may never be the same! Many stomp on doubloons in their rush to claim them. Hint: If you re standing next to a bunch of old grandmothers dressed in high heels and playboy bunny outfits, don t think your chances are any better.

They may be old, but they have fast feet and the spikes on those heels - ouch!
Mardi Gras is the celebration of the beginning of the Catholic Lenten season. Mardi Gras is French for fat Tuesday and embodies the abandonment and indulgence that many engage in before plunging into the 40 days of Lent that immediately follow.

The beads that many revelers wear and pass around during the festivities are purple, green and gold, representing not just the celebration's Catholic roots, but also an homage to a Russian czar.