One of the many things I love about DC is the notion that it is full of transplants. So many of us were born and raised somewhere else. We bring these different cultures and perspectives with us, making DC its own little melting pot. Our different backgrounds inform who we are. They inform the decisions we make, the things we do. And, consciously or unconsciously, many of us pass these values and traditions on to our friends and colleagues.
My kids were born in DC and definitely are city kids. But, I will always be a Louisiana girl. And it is vitally important to me that my kids understand and participate in Louisiana’s rich heritage and culture. Celebrating Mardi Gras is an important part of that culture.
Mardi Gras plays a big role in our home life in DC. Below are just a few of the ways that we bring Mardi Gras to our kids in DC, showing them that they can celebrate their Louisiana heritage no matter where they are. While these are specific ways to bring Mardi Gras to your kids, these fundamental concepts can bring just about any holiday or tradition into your children’s lives.
Louisiana themed books have been a part of my babies’ lives since the day they came home from the hospital. We have multiple versions of the Cajun ABCs and the Cajun Night Before Christmas is a holiday classic. Our current Mardi Gras favorite is The Little Float That Could by Yvonne Perret. (Autographed copies are available for $17.99 from Dirty Coast, one of my favorite New Orleans based t-shirt companies.) Do you think the little float makes it over the big bridge crossing the Mississippi River in time for the parade? You will have to read it to find out! Another current favorite is Gumbo — A Magical Bayou Tale by Alexis Braud. We read this book every.single.night. Including the gumbo recipe at the end.
DIY Arts & Crafts Projects
Purple, green, and gold are the official colors of Mardi Gras – and my 2.5-year-olds proudly tell that to nearly anyone who will listen. Arts and craft projects are an interactive, hands-on way to bring Mardi Gras to your littles no matter where you are.
This year we used our hands and feet to create a purple, green, and gold Mardi Gras parade scene – Throw Me Something, Mister! – and a crawfish boil. These projects are easy and require minimal supplies, just paper, paint, and a paintbrush. They are also a great way to talk to your kids about the traditions you may have grown up with.
DC Events: The Wharf Parade
No matter the event, there is a good chance someone in Washington, DC is putting on an event to celebrate it. To celebrate Mardi Gras in DC with the whole family, check out The Wharf’s Mardi Gras celebration on Saturday, March 2. There will be live music and kid-friendly activities, including a parade featuring a Washington Nationals float at 3pm and a fireworks show at 5:45pm. If you are wanting some adult time on Mardi Gras Day, head that evening (sans kids) to the Mardi Gras Extravaganza benefitting the DC Central Kitchen at the Showroom in DC with food, live music, and drinks.
We also decorate our house for Mardi Gras, wear Mardi Gras themed clothing, and cook Cajun food that the babies have declared “yummy in my tummy.” What are some parts of your upbringing that you share with your kids? Let us know in the comments.