Today is Fat Tuesday: Mardi Gras celebration has roots in Mobile

Traditional King Cake

Traditional King Cake

By Staff Writer – H.A. Richardson 

Mardi Gras is in full swing today February 9th.  The English translation from French of Mardi Gras is Fat Tuesday. This is a celebration that takes place 47 days before Easter and one day before Ash Wednesday.

Shrove Tuesday is the day before Lent begins. It is the only holiday that has a varying date. This is because Easter occurs during the spring solstice. It is a Roman Catholic holiday.

Mardi Gras has varying names in other countries like Carnival, Pancake Day and Fastnacht.

America was introduced to Mardi Gras by French colonists in the 1700s. The first street parade was in Mobile, Alabama.

The festivity became popular in New Orleans, Louisiana and spread throughout the southern states.

It is a legal holiday in Alabama and Florida and eight parishes in Louisiana.

People come from all over the world to celebrate Mardi Gras in New Orleans and Mobile. The festivities in both towns are very celebratory.

They are known to have King Cakes, signifying the three wise men and baby Jesus.  The cake has miniature figurines of Baby Jesus.

As is customary, out of those eating the cake, the one who receives the baby is obligated to hold the next Mardi Gras party.

The thrown Mardi Gras beads at parades are also very popular. These beads are usually plastic now since they are thrown, but were once glass.

The parades and parties start a week in advance.

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