It’s starting! The partying is about to begin. What party you ask? Why the parties leading to Mardi Gras, the Tuesday before Ash Wednesday. This year, from January 12 to February 12, the south, especially the deep south, dresses up and it’s fun time in a big way.
Because I live in the deep south of the US, I’ve learned this time of the year everything centers around this particular celebration. All year the various Krewes, pronounced ‘crews’, have been working, planning and decorating the floats for the fifty, 50, yep I did say fifty parades, that will be occurring in our area of about 75 miles. Every small town has a parade, but of course the big parades take place in Mobile, Alabama. These Krewes are groups of people banded together to make, decorate and ride on the floats as they throw beads, baubles, small stuffed animals, golden colored coins and the famous Moon Pies. And each has a name and a history.
Why Mobile, you ask? Well, most don’t know it but Mobile was the home of the Mardi Gras parades, not New Orleans. It all started here in the town of Mobile in the early 1800’s. The French, because Mobile was settled by the French, brought their customs with them and celebrating the time between Christmas and the start of the Lenten season was the time to live it up, eat, drink and be merry. And could they party!
This year I’d like to pass on a little known fact about our famous Moon Pies, which now come in lemon, vanilla, chocolate, and strawberry. In the forties, the krewes would throw boxes of Jacker Jacks to the throngs lining the parade route. As you can imagine, the small boxes with pointed edges, could do some damage. They had to have something else to throw. The moon pies, an invention of a Tennessee baker, were round and were easy to throw. They became a staple part of the Mardi Gras parade. Today, those treats are wrapped in decorated cellophane, and often emblazoned with the emblem of the Krewe doing the tossing.
Of course, the bands from local schools are all invited and bands from other parts of the state come to parade as well. All the local schools are closed for the holiday and the parade routes are crowded with people, their hands in the air, shouting at the float riders begging for beads or the famous moon pies. If you chance to visit the deep south after Christmas holidays and before Lent, be prepared to party. It’s what we do for the next month.
Heart-warming Romance with a Sensual Touch