History of Mardi Gras: Little known facts about the annual celebration

Mardi Gras — the annual celebration that has everyone throwing beads and eating king cake — has a history you may not know much about.

Mardi Gras started in Mobile, Ala.

Mardi Gras, the celebration that marks the day before Lent and has long been associated with New Orleans, actually began in Mobile, Ala., in 1699. New Orleans was not founded until 1718.

CLICK HERE TO SIGN UP FOR OUR LIFESTYLE NEWSLETTER

Mardi Gras was banned in New Orleans until Louisiana became a state

From 1762, when the Spanish ruled the city, to 1800, and then between 1803 until 1837, after the U.S. took over, large celebrations and rituals associated with the carnival were banned. According to History.com, the first recorded Mardi Gras street parade in the Big Easy occurred in 1837.

FOLLOW US ON FACEBOOK FOR MORE FOX LIFESTYLE NEWS

Louisiana is the only state to declare Mardi Gras a legal holiday

While states around the country celebrate Fat Tuesday — with Alabama laying claim to the oldest festival in the country — Louisiana is the only one to have officially declared Mardi Gras a legal holiday.

CLICK HERE TO GET THE FOX NEWS APP

A New Orleans bakery popularized hiding a porcelain baby inside the cake, reportedly as a nod to a similar practice dating back to 18th century France.

A New Orleans bakery popularized hiding a porcelain baby inside the cake, reportedly as a nod to a similar practice dating back to 18th century France. (arinahabich/iStock)

Hiding a baby in king cake began in New Orleans

King cake, the slightly sweet cinnamon bread synonymous with Mardi Gras, usually comes with a trinket hidden inside. In the 1950s, a New Orleans bakery popularized hiding a porcelain baby inside the cake, a practice that reportedly traces back to 18th-century France, supposedly to represent Jesus, Eater reports. Today, the baby figurine — which can be made of plastic — is often hidden inside the king cake, and the person who ends up finding the baby in his/her slice is responsible for providing the king cake the next year.

MARDI GRAS: HOW THE REST OF THE COUNTRY CELEBRATES FAT TUESDAY

Public nudity is not allowed in NOLA

Though flashing for beads seems like a common Mardi Gras practice, public nudity is a no-no in New Orleans. Though, surprisingly, the city does allow public drinking — as long as your beverage is in a plastic cup.