The Zulu coconut is a New Orleans Mardi Gras parade 'throw' handed out by the Zulu Social Aid and Pleasure Club krewe. This throw is an actual coconut that has been specially decorated by the members of the Zulu krewe. Because the coconuts are heavy, they are usually handed out rather than thrown into crowds.
The Zulu krewe first started handing out coconuts in the early 1900s as a means of giving out a special treat that was more affordable than the expensive glass bead necklaces that were popular at the time. These coconuts are also known as 'the golden nugget,' and are considered a particularly prized souvenir.