Tuesday, February 21

Fat Tuesday!

Today is Fat Tuesday.

Peanut scored some beads!
While New Orleans gets all the media attention for its Mardi Gras madness, the entire Gulf Coast goes crazy for this holiday. In fact Mobile, AL is credited with the first Mardi Gras celebration in 1703 (or 1699 - depends on who you ask).

Mardi Gras revelry was suspended during the Civil War, but was revived (again) in Mobile in 1866. Legend has it that that one man, Joe Cain, rode through the streets on a coal cart, dressed in Chickasaw Indian regalia.

Obviously, Joe was also drunk as a skunk (which explains a lot about Mardi Gras parades...)

When Joe passed on, his second funeral procession (it's a long story) was the precursor to the big Sunday parades. Now the Sunday before Mardi Gras is now known in Mobile as "Joe Cain Day," with celebrations rivaling Fat Tuesday.

To an outsider, it seems like the party just keeps adding days (but I'm not complaining)! So here's the schedule as I understand it:
Mardi Gras costumes from the Krewe of Bowlegs
exhibit in Fort Walton Beach, FL
  • January 6th, Epiphany kicks off the season. Krewes put the finishing touches on their floats. Carnival celebrations and masquerade balls fill up the social calendar.
  • Saturday before Fat Tuesday - parades and partying begin in earnest (but I have yet to hear a name for this holiday?)
  • Sunday before Fat Tuesday - Joe Cain Day (at least in Mobile, AL)
  • Monday before Fat Tuesday - Lundi Gras (You thought I made that one up, didn't you!)
  • 40 days before Easter - Fat Tuesday / Mardi Gras
  • ...followed by Ash Wednesday (also known as "hangover recovery day")

Pensacola's Mardi Gras parades are more "family friendly" than those in the Big Easy. You won't catch people flashing their chests for beads. (Apologies to anyone who was hoping for scandalous photos...)

Krewes here throw beads, candy, moon pies, and other goodies to everyone in the crowd. (A krewe, prounounced "crew," is a social club organized around creating floats for the carnival season.)
Showing off our collection of beads from Saturday's parade...
I'm not going to sugar coat it: Even Pensacola's PG-13 Mardi Gras is still a 4-day drunkfest. But it's all in good fun. There's time for being an adult the other 362 days of this year.

(Speaking of being an adult... Ok... I'll run twice today, but only until I can get my hands on some king cake!)
King cake is a holiday staple - but watch out. There's a "baby king" hidden inside.
If you get the baby in your slice #1 - be careful that you don't chip a tooth, and
#2 - you're on the hook for bringing next year's cake.
Happy Fat Tuesday!

Laissez les bon temps rouler!

Have you ever celebrated Mardi Gras?
Right now my dining room looks like a bead factory had an accident... Maybe one of these days I'll figure out how to work those into a giveaway?


  1. Thanks for the history lesson! I'm often confused this time of year about all of the Mardi Gras festivities.

    Sounds like you had a good time!

  2. Love it- nice to know some of the background to Mardi Gras! Good times- happy Mardi Gras!

  3. Thanks for the little history lesson. I had no idea Mardi Gras was so big all along the Gulf Coast. Cheers!

  4. Happy Mardi Gras!!!

    Want to share that king cake? It looks deeeelish!

  5. @Taryn - I just finished the last piece. Maybe we should start making plans for next year?

  6. Mardi Gras in Galveston is split. They have parads and events that are family friendly and those that are a tad more "illicit."


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