The Rich History of Mardi Gras’ Cheap Trinkets

On Tuesday the streets of New Orleans will be lined with throngs of jubilant people eager to snare their share of gaudy plastic jewelry, toys, and other mementos tossed to the crowds from parading floats.

It’s Mardi Gras, which is French for Fat Tuesday, the final day of the weeks-long Carnival season of feasting and celebration. On Ash Wednesday Christian revelers sober up for the pre-Easter fasting and the penitential season of Lent.