🟣🟢🟡 What Do Mardi Gras Colors Mean?

What Do Mardi Gras Colors Mean

You might be curious about the history behind the iconic Mardi Gras colors – purple🟣, green🟢, and gold🟡. 

These colors can be traced back to 1872, when the Krewe of Rex, one of the oldest participating groups in Mardi Gras, established them as the official color scheme for the event.

The Rex parade aimed to honor the arrival of a Russian aristocrat, and it was during this time that the striking purple, green, and gold hues were chosen for the celebration. They later became the official Mardi Gras colors in 1892 during the Symbolism of Colors parade.

Each color holds a specific meaning: purple represents justice, green symbolizes faith, and gold signifies power. At Mardi Gras in New Orleans, it’s not uncommon for locals and tourists alike to dress in these colors, which may increase your chances of getting more Mardi Gras beads.

So, the next time you find yourself immersed in the festive atmosphere of Mardi Gras, remember the roots of this Louisiana tradition and its distinctive colors that have been celebrated for over a century.

🔣 Symbolism of Mardi Gras Colors

The vibrant and exciting celebration features an array of colors, but the most significant are purple, green, and gold. 

To better understand how Mardi Gras works, let’s explore the meaning behind each of these colors.

The Color Purple

Purple is a powerful color that represents justice in Mardi Gras celebrations. The choice of purple as one of the three main colors was decided in 1892 during the famous Rex parade, which had the theme “Symbolism of Colors”. 

Purple signifies the justice and fairness associated with the tricolor and Mardi Gras as a whole. It’s a constant reminder of the importance of equality and balance during the festivities as you immerse yourself in what Mardi Gras is all about.

The Color Green

Green holds a special place in the Mardi Gras tricolor, representing faith. As a symbol of trust and belief, green is deeply rooted in the religious aspect and is a vital element of the season. 

Not only do the green decorations and attire serve as a reminder of the spiritual part of the festivities, but they also reinforce the deep sense of camaraderie and belonging among those who partake in the events.

The Color Gold

Last but not least, gold is the third key color in the Mardi Gras palette. It symbolizes power and strength, highlighting the city’s and its people’s resilience and unyielding spirit. 

Gold is an emblem of the robust nature of those who celebrate Mardi Gras, standing as a testament to their unwavering commitment to their traditions and culture.

With the knowledge of justice, faith, and power behind these shades, you’ll have an even richer experience during the festivities.

🎭 Role in Mardi Gras Celebrations

Mardi Gras, also known as Fat Tuesday, is now synonymous with the wild carnival season. Let’s dive into how these colors play a role in the celebrations.


During the Mardi Gras season, spectacular parades take over the streets of New Orleans with marching bands, elaborate floats, and lively performers. The colors of Mardi Gras are prominently featured on the floats, banners, and other decorations. 

Each float throws Mardi Gras beads and other trinkets representing these colors to the cheering crowd. In some parades, like the Zulu parade, unique hand-decorated coconuts are distributed as coveted souvenirs.


Costumed individuals and groups are integral to Mardi Gras parades, as the joyful energy of the event encourages elaborate costumes and masks. 

Outfits often feature vibrant displays of purple, green, and gold. Mardi Gras outfits for men and ladies can be characterized by bright clothing, flamboyant accessories, and playful masks in traditional colors. 

King Cakes

The King Cake is a delectable circular pastry, similar to a cinnamon roll, central to Mardi Gras celebrations. 

The circular shape represents the crown of a king, fittingly decorated with icing and sugar in the Mardi Gras colors of purple, green, and gold. 

A small plastic baby, symbolizing the baby Jesus, is hidden inside the cake. Whoever finds the baby in their slice becomes the king or queen of the celebration and is responsible for providing the King Cake for the next gathering.

🏈 Influence Beyond Mardi Gras

As you may already know, the famous Mardi Gras colors of purple, green, and gold have deeper meanings. But did you know these colors can also be found in significant institutions in Louisiana, like Louisiana State University and Tulane University?

Louisiana State University

At Louisiana State University (LSU), you’ll see a connection to the Mardi Gras colors in the school’s sports teams. LSU’s official colors are purple and gold, representing justice and power. 

While the LSU Tigers don’t have green as one of their primary colors, you can still feel the spirit of Mardi Gras during their games because of the vibrant purple and gold.

🟣 Purple – Symbolizes justice, often associated with royalty and regal aspects.

🟡 Gold – Symbolizes power, exemplified in LSU’s sports successes and strong athletic programs.

Connecting to the Mardi Gras colors can inspire pride in LSU’s students, faculty, and alumni during sporting events and other school activities. 

The university strengthens its bond with the local community by having colors with such strong cultural ties.

Tulane University

Tulane University also shares a connection with the Mardi Gras colors, as the university’s primary colors are green and blue. 

Green signifies faith and growth, aligning with Tulane’s commitment to academic excellence and research contributions.

🟢 Green – Represents faith and growth, which are essential values at Tulane University.

Though Tulane doesn’t have all three Mardi Gras colors within its official school colors, you can’t help but notice the influence of these symbolic colors throughout the campus community.

So, next time you’re in Louisiana, whether it’s during Mardi Gras or not, pay attention to the colors around you. 

The spirit of Mardi Gras colors resonates with more than just the parade! It’s woven into the very fabric of the state.