The Vanguard

Filed under Life, Showcase

Mardi Gras: a Mobile tradition continues

Mardi+Gras+revelers+parade+in+downtown+Mobile+during+the+2017+celebration.+The+celebrations+this+year+will+begin+on+Feb.+13.
Mardi Gras revelers parade in downtown Mobile during the 2017 celebration. The celebrations this year will begin on Feb. 13.

Mardi Gras revelers parade in downtown Mobile during the 2017 celebration. The celebrations this year will begin on Feb. 13.

Shelby Guidry

Shelby Guidry

Mardi Gras revelers parade in downtown Mobile during the 2017 celebration. The celebrations this year will begin on Feb. 13.

Hang on for a minute...we're trying to find some more stories you might like.


Email This Story






Mardi Gras, also known as Fat Tuesday, is a local Catholic holidayturned-cultural-phenomenon wherein participants engage in Carnival celebrations the day before Ash Wednesday. This year it will be held on Feb. 13.

Mardi Gras is the culmination of the month-long Carnival season and is a massive celebration that precedes Lent, which is a period of fasting and sacrifice that lasts from Ash Wednesday to Easter Sunday. Carnival itself generally lasts from Jan. 6, known as Twelfth Night, until Mardi Gras.

Mardi Gras festivities typically involve parades and balls. Parades are coordinated by non-profit groups known as krewes, who also plan private balls, according to mardigrasneworleans.com.

Some of the most well-known and exclusive krewes are the Krewe of Endymion, the Krewe of Bacchus and the Krewe of Orpheus, according to mardigrasneworleans.com.

Parades are a staple of local Mardi Gras traditions. Krewe members on elaborate floats toss goods such as beads, doubloons, cups and treats to spectators below.

The city of Mobile is home to several mystic societies that operate as krewe. In the past, these societies were secret and open only to a select few. However, The Mobile Mask, a magazine dedicated to Mardi Gras festivities in Mobile, states that membership for newer societies today can be purchased.

Prospective members simply pay dues to secure a place on a parade float. Older, more well-known krewes such as the Order of Myths can be stricter and have restricted membership, according to The Mobile Mask.

“The Order of Myths was Mobile’s first and oldest continuous Mardi Gras parading group,” The Mobile Mask states on their website. “[They always present] the last Mobile parade on Mardi Gras day.”

Other societies include the Knights of Revelry, the Comic Cowboys of Wragg Swamp and Infant Mystics.

Mardi Gras is not celebrated or observed throughout the entire United States. Traditionally French cities and regions, such as New Orleans and Mobile, are the primary hosts of the festivities, according to neworleansmardigras.com.

Mardi Gras has roots dating back thousands of years to “pagan celebrations of spring and fertility,” and Roman Catholic leaders adopted the practices rather than end them altogether, beginning a tradition that spread alongside Catholicism, according to history.com.

It is widely debated whether Mardi Gras in the United States originated in Mobile or New Orleans.

The settlement of Fort Louis de la Mobile “celebrated America’s very first Mardi Gras” in 1703, and they were the first to form a secret society called the Masque de la Mobile that was the predecessor to current Mardi Gras krewes, according to neworleansmardigras.com.

However, the first American Mardi Gras was allegedly celebrated on March 3, 1699, when French explorers settled near present-day New Orleans, according to history. com.

With regards to the debate, The Mobile Mask observes the impact of pioneering traditions.

“Say what you will about who started Mardi Gras—Mobile or New Orleans—it’s a fact that Mobilians started the first mystic society,” The Mobile Mask states on their website. “Without those societies, there would be no Mardi Gras as we know it today.”

The city of Mobile hosts several parades for the Mardi Gras season, listing over a dozen on their website. The first parade of 2018 rolled through downtown Mobile on Jan. 26.

To view parade routes and scheduling information, visit cityofmobile.org/mardigras.php for more details.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Leave a Comment




Navigate Right
Navigate Left
  • Mardi Gras: a Mobile tradition continues

    Life

    Accommodation review: Mobile County Metro Jail

  • Mardi Gras: a Mobile tradition continues

    Life

    Graduating seniors nest in Mobile

  • Mardi Gras: a Mobile tradition continues

    Life

    Student spotlight: Deborah Fetherland

  • Mardi Gras: a Mobile tradition continues

    Life

    Student Spotlight: Steven Faralli

  • Mardi Gras: a Mobile tradition continues

    Life

    Advice for working students

The University of South Alabama's student news site
Mardi Gras: a Mobile tradition continues