We’re prepping for this year’s Mardi Gras, which happens on Fat Tuesday aka February 21st.
“The origins of Mardi Gras can be traced to medieval Europe, passing through Rome and Venice in the 17th and 18th centuries to the French House of the Bourbons. From here, the traditional revelry of “Boeuf Gras,” or fatted calf, followed France to her colonies. By the late 1830s, New Orleans held street processions of maskers with carriages and horseback riders to celebrate Mardi Gras. Dazzling gaslight torches, or “flambeaux,” lit the way for the krewe’s members and lent each event an exciting air of romance and festivity”
What about King Cake? Or the floats and beads?
The name “King Cake” is derived from the Three Wise Men in the Bible, who came bearing gifts for Baby Jesus on the Twelfth Night. King cake is first served on King’s Day (January 6) and lasts through the eve of Mardi Gras to celebrate the coming of the three kings, as well as to honor them with a sweet homage to their jeweled crowns. The baby can be known as an homage to baby Jesus, or it serves the purpose that whoever found the trinket in their slice of cake would be crowned the king or queen of the balls leading up to the lavish finale on Mardi Gras.
The beads have been passed out since the 1920s when Rex and a few other krewes began handing out tiny trinkets to the parade followers.
The first floats appeared in the mid-1800s as decorated horse-drawn carriages and wagons. These carriages were accompanied by young men who carried torches to light the way for the route. These men are called “Flambeauxs,” and they continue to light the way for Mardi Gras’ nighttime parades.
Celebrate in Fairhope this year!