Columns » Ask Buddy Batiste

Why do people throw beads at Mardi Gras?

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My family was at Disney World when I first found out that people don't always throw beads during parades. We were in the Magic Kingdom and all of a sudden floats and people in costume appeared, but all they did was wave at us. My parents thought it was funny when I started yelling "Throw me something, mister!" I didn't know throwing beads and other stuff from parade floats was something unique to New Orleans. I wanted to know why that was, so when I got back home I read that the tradition of throwing beads started in the 1920s. It turns out Rex was the first krewe to do it, and members threw cheap glass beads. They also were the first Carnival krewe to throw doubloons. That's pretty cool, but my favorite throws still are light-up beads, moon pies and toilet paper.

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