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Uncover the rich history of Mardi Gras in Louisiana and find out what revelers mean when they talk about boeuf gras, flambeaux, and more!

Have you ever noticed that people that aren't familiar with the celebration of Carnival get a glazed look in their eyes when we start tossing out terms like 'boeuf gras' or 'flambeaux' or post about going to a Mardi Gras bal and spelling the word 'ball' with only one 'l?' Or how about the word 'krewe' as opposed to 'crew?' No worries, we'll get everyone on the same page with our nifty guide to the meaning of different popular Mardi Gras terms and their meanings that are often used here in Louisiana.

Here are the Top 10 Mardi Gras terms used in Louisiana and what they mean.

Ball: A Mardi Gras ball or bal is a special event that Krewes host before their parades roll. They are usually opulent, formal affairs with costumes and dancing and often feature a tableau, which is the presentation of the royal court.

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Canva
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Boeuf Gras: Translates to "fat ox" in French. It's an ancient tradition of fattening a cow or ox for the town to eat before giving up meat for Lent.

Boeuf Gras float courtesy of the Krewe of Centaur
Boeuf Gras float courtesy of the Krewe of Centaur
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Carnival: Carnival is a Latin word that translates to "a farewell to meat." Carnival refers to the Mardi Gras season as a whole, which starts on King's Day and ends on Ash Wednesday.

New Orleans Holds Annual Mardi Gras Celebration
Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images
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Epiphany: a Christian feast day on January 6. The holiday celebrates the three wise men's visit to the baby Jesus. This is considered the official beginning of Carnival/Mardi Gras season.

Canva/TSM
Canva/TSM
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Flambeaux: This word is derived from the French word for "flame." Before the days of electricity, slaves or free men of color would carry 'flambeaux' or large torches in parades to provide light and warmth.

2012 Krewe Of Bacchus Parade
Skip Bolen/Getty Images
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King Cake: A festive cake made of Danish dough, cinnamon, glaze topping, and colorful sprinkles, complete with a plastic baby figurine representative of the baby Jesus.

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TSM
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Laissez Les Bons Temps Rouler: This is a Cajun French saying that means "let the good times roll."

New Orleans Celebrates Mardi Gras
Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images
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Lundi Gras: This is a French term that means "Fat Monday." Lundi Gras comes the day before Mardi Gras or "Fat Tuesday."

Mardi gras decorations in New Orleans
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Neutral Ground: This is the median that separates roads. Paradegoers often distinguish where they will stand between the neutral ground side and the sidewalk side. In the Shreveport-Bossier area, we designate this by whether we'll be on the driver's side or the passenger's side of the truck pulling the float.

Courtesy of the Krewe of Centaur
Courtesy of the Krewe of Centaur
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Royal Court: This refers to honored members of a krewe, which usually includes a king, queen, grand marshals, dukes, maids, and more. Court members are often presented during the parade's ball during the tableau.

Bristol/TSM
Bristol/TSM
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Throws: The trinkets that float riders throw to parade-goers like beads, cups, doubloons, stuffed animals, food, and toys.

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Krewe of Gemini Inaugural Bal and Parade 1990

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Gallery Credit: Bruce Mikells

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