Mardi Gras Traditions in Mobile Alabama
Those who want to be part of America’s oldest carnival celebration must go to Mobile, Alabama, when Mardi Gras takes place. This extraordinary festival had its first edition in 1703. In 1702, Mobile used to be Louisiana’s first capital, the French capital. Thus, Mardi Gras began as a Catholic tradition. In English, Mardi Gras means Shrove Tuesday or Fat Tuesday. The celebration lasts until Ash Wednesday, the start of Lent.
As years passed by, Mardi Gras traditions in Mobile evolved into a more mainstream festival that lasts for various weeks. Nowadays, anyone can enjoy this celebration, no matter the religious affiliation. Mobile is known for its exclusive societies and its elegant formal masked balls. However, Mardi Gras has become a public celebration featuring various parades on the streets. Society members sit on horsebacks or floats and throw various gifts to spectators. These gifts include whistles, plastic beads, Frisbees, doubloon coins, small toys, decorated plastic cups, stuffed animals, wrapped snacks / cakes, and candies. Thus, it might be quite interesting to be in the audience as these floats pass by.
The festival still features some masked dances and balls, which are kind of appealing for tourists. Men wear tails and white ties, but do not wear masks, and women put on long evening frocks. These balls are designed especially for adults. Moreover, mystic societies see these events as the start of exclusive social circles. Some special events are also organized in local bars and nightclubs. So, Mardi Gras isn’t all about public parades. The mystic societies, some of them dating since 1704, have their crucial part in this celebration. Certain societies will never have public parades; they will only organize private balls.
The season for Mardi Gras traditions begins in November. The highlight of this celebration is without a doubt the New Year’s Eve party. Two weeks before the actual Mardi Gras, the streets of Mobile are filled with major daily parades. The last Mardi Gras week features the biggest events that take place not only in Mobile, but also in the surrounding cities. Normally, Mobile parades are organized by Carnival orders or krewes. They respect the same route and schedule each year. The local schools are also included in this celebration by organizing various Mardi Gras holidays. Since the culture of Mobile is so diverse, this remarkable celebration now includes different traditions and influences: Swedish, French, American, Spanish, Creole, African and British.
Mardi Gras has two traditional colors: gold and purple. Gold symbolizes power and purple means justice. Also, purple is related to Europe’s royal monarchies, plus it is a liturgical color utilized throughout the Lent period. Lately, there is also a third color used during the Mardi Gras parades: green. This color is a symbol for faith and it’s also one of the traditional colors of New Orleans. Mardi Gras in Mobile is a huge celebration. Usually, people prepare year-round for this event, so whoever wants to see these amazing parades won’t be disappointed. Local and international tourists passing by during the event will certainly be dazzled by the parade, the costumes, and the general vibe of the town.