Friday, January 15, 2010

"Laissez Les Bon Temps Roulez"!!!

"Let the Good Times Roll"   It's time for Mardi Gras in Mobile!  Contrary to popular opinion, Mobile is the home of the first Mardi Gras, dating back as far as 1703. At that time it was called Boef Gras (Fat Beef).

The date of Mardi Gras is determined by the date of Easter each year. Also called "Fat Tuesday," it is the Tuesday before Ash Wednesday, which begins the forty-day Lenten season.

Mardi Gras as we now know it was started in Mobile by Michael Kraft in 1830.  Having come to the end of a dinner party, but unwilling to call it a night, he and some of his friends took to the streets with rakes, hoes, and cowbells. Thus the mystic society, Cowbellion de Rakin Society, was born. In 1840 their first parade rolled along city streets.

After the Civil War, Joseph Stillwell Cain garbed himself in full Chickasaw Indian attire and dubbed himself Chief Slacabamorinico. He and six of his friends were determined to lift the spirits of the local citizenry. They called themselves the "Tea Drinkers" and paraded in a decorated coal wagon pulled by a mule.  Joe Cain was a founder of the Order of Myths, the oldest mystic society in Mobile, and the last to parade each Mardi Gras season.  Because of Joe Cain's involvement in the carnival activities, each Sunday before Mardi Gras Day has been designated as "Joe Cain Day."

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