Mardi Gras is coming, time to review and tweet

Mardi Gras rolls around about this time every year bringing Fat Tuesday and signaling celebrations held worldwide. In the United States, the focus is on New Orleans and this year the city is sponsoring some special events including a family-friendly focus and a special series of Twitter Chats leading up to the celebration.

About a million people will take to the streets of New Orleans for the two weeks leading up to Fat Tuesday. Throughout the celebration, the traditional Mardi Gras colors of purple, green and gold can be seen around the city. Purple, green and gold officially became the colors of Carnival back in 1872 when Alexis Romanov, Grand Duke of Russia, visited New Orleans for Mardi Gras. In the Duke’s honor, the city adopted the Romanov family colors of purple, green and gold, representing justice, fidelity and power.

Also a tradition of Mardi Gras, King Cakes came to New Orleans with the French and began as round, custard-filled pastries decorated with crowns. King Cakes remain extremely popular throughout the city during the carnival season and are often compared to a coffee cake, drizzled in icing and decorated with sugar dyed the traditional colors. Tradition holds that whoever gets the ornamental baby hidden inside the cake at the first party had to give a king cake party the following weekend.While costumes are not required, most carnival revelers join in the fun with wigs and glitter making outrageous outfits welcome all carnival long.

Although a time of revelry, Mardi Gras in New Orleans is routinely celebrated with the entire family. Many local families come together on the Avenue and set up chairs, ladders, ice chests and tents for the parades.

This year, a question and answer Twitter Chat (#MGQA) will take place every Tuesday from 2:00-3:00 CST from now until the start of Mardi Gras with questions answered by the New Orleans Tourism and Marketing Corporation‘s ( NOTMC) two Twitter accounts @VisitNewOrleans and @GoNOLA504 as well as the New Orleans Convention and Visitors Bureau’s (NOCVB) Twitter account @NewOrleans. Participants are encouraged to use the #MardiGras hashtag.

Also new this year, a special Mardi Gras New Orleans 2012 web site has been launched featuring parade schedules, tips for visitors and a live webcam during events.

There, now we’re up to speed on Mardi Gras. No test.

Flickr photo by DoctorWho

Universal Orlando announces Mardi Gras concert lineup

Thirty Seconds to Mars, Ne-Yo and Blake Shelton are among the headliners just announced for Universal Orlando’s Mardi Gras this spring.

The 2011 Mardi Gras celebration happens on weekend nights Feb. 12 through April 23 at the Universal Studios Florida theme park in Orlando, Florida.

Here’s the concert lineup:

  • Feb. 12: Frankie Valli & The Four Seasons
  • Feb. 19: The B-52s
  • Feb. 20: KC & The Sunshine Band
  • Feb. 26: Pitbull
  • March 5: Lynyrd Skynyrd
  • March 12: Foreigner
  • March 18: Neon Trees
  • March 19: Thirty Seconds to Mars
  • March 25: OneRepublic
  • March 26: Blake Shelton
  • April 1: Sean Kingston
  • April 2: Ne-Yo
  • April 9: Lifehouse
  • April 16: The Beach Boys

Universal’s Mardi Gras also includes a nightly parade with floats designed by Blaine Kern Artists in New Orleans, and, of course, lots and lots of beads.

A “French Quarter” street party serves up cajun food and musicians playing blues, jazz and zydeco.

Universal Orlando’s Mardi Gras is included with regular theme park admission to Universal Studios Florida – no separate ticket is required for the concerts.