March 01, 2015

Dont miss out on our mardi gras novelty items. Mardi is coming soon.

  FL # 330


The history of th mardi gras party.

Mobile, founded by Bienville in 1702, is known for having the oldest organized Mardi Gras celebrations in the United States, beginning in 1703. It was also host to the first formally organized Mardi Gras parade in the United States in 1830.

Mobile's Mardi Gras celebrations revolve around mystic societies, private social organizations that have been a fundamental part of the social and business fabric of the city. The mystic societies are organizations, similar to krewes in New Orleans, that present parades, masked balls, and activities for the enjoyment of its members, guests, and the public. Mystic society membership is secret. The mystic societies build colorful Carnival floats and parade throughout downtown Mobile during the Carnival season with masked society members tossing small gifts, known as "throws", to the parade spectators. Throws were first introduced in Mobile during an 1837 Cowbellion de Rakin Society parade. They initially consisted of sugar plumbs, kisses, and oranges Currently, throws may be trinkets, candy, cookies, peanuts, women's panties, artificial roses, stuffed animals, doubloons, cups, hats, can coolers, Frisbees, medallion necklaces, bead necklaces of every variety, and the iconic Moon Pies.

Mobile's mystic societies give formal masquerade balls, known as bal masqués, which are almost always invitation only and are oriented to adults Attendance at a ball requires that a strict dress code, or costume de rigueur, be followed. The formal dress code usually involves full-length evening gowns for women and white tie with tails for male invited guests, and masked costumes for society members. The balls feature dramatic entertainment, music, dancing, food, and drinks. Balls are usually based upon a theme which is carried out through scenery, decorations, costumes, and a tableau vivant.

Mobile first celebrated Carnival in 1703 when French settlers began the festivities at the Old Mobile Site.[10] Mobile's first Carnival society was organized in 1704, when Nicholas Langlois founded Société de Saint Louis. In 1711 it was renamed the Boeuf Gras Society (Fatted Ox Society) (1711–1861). In 1830 Mobile's Cowbellion de Rakin Society was the first formally organized and masked mystic society in the United States to celebrate with a parade. The Cowbellions got their start when Michael Krafft, a cotton factor from Pennsylvania, began a parade with participants' carrying rakes, hoes, and cowbells. The "Cowbellions" introduced horse-drawn floats to the parades in 1840 with a parade entitled, "Heathen Gods and Goddesses". The Striker's Independent Society was formed in 1843. It is the oldest surviving mystic society or krewe in the United States.

King Felix III and the queen of the Mobile Carnival Association aboard the MCA crown float on Royal Street during the 2010 season
In 1856 six businessmen, formerly of Mobile, gathered at a club room in New Orlean's French Quarter to organize a secret society to observe Mardi Gras with a formal parade. They founded New Orleans' first and oldest krewe, the Mistick Krewe of Comus. Carnival celebrations in Mobile were cancelled during the American Civil War. In 1866 Joe Cain revived the Mardi Gras parades by portraying a fictional Chickasaw chief named Slacabamorinico while parading in costume through the city streets on Fat Tuesday. He celebrated the day in front of Union Army occupation troops. The Order of Myths, Mobile's oldest mystic society that continues to parade, was founded in 1867 and held its first parade on Mardi Gras night in 1868. The Infant Mystics also began to parade on Mardi Gras night in 1868, but later moved their parade to Lundi Gras.

Blow House in the Order of Athena parade down Royal Street during the 2010 season
The Mobile Carnival Association was formed in 1871 to coordinate the events of Mardi Gras. That year was also the occasion of the First Royal Court at which was crowned the first king of Carnival, Emperor Felix I. The Comic Cowboys of Wragg Swamp were established in 1884, along with their mission of satire and free expression. The Continental Mystic Crew mystic society was founded in 1890; it was Mobile's first Jewish mystic society] In 1894 the Order of Doves mystic society was founded and held its first Mardi Gras ball. It was the first African-American mystic society in Mobile. In 1929 the Infant Mystics, the second oldest society that continues to parade, introduced the first electric floats to Mobile. In 1939 the Colored Carnival Association was founded and had its first parade; it was later renamed the Mobile Area Mardi Gras Association. In 1980 the Order of Osiris, the oldest surviving gay and lesbian mystic society in Mobile, held its first ball. In 1995 the 1st Mobile International Carnival Ball was held, with every known Mobile mystic society in attendance. In 2002, Mobile celebrated its Tricentennial with parades representing every known mystic society. A documentary film, The Order of Myths, was released in 2008 with a focus on Mardi Gras celebrations and how race and class influences many aspects of Mardi Gras in the city, including the mystic societies. According statistics from the Alabama Tourism Department, Mobile Mardi Gras is the most-attended annual event in the state. The event attracted more than 800,000 people in 2010 and more than one million in 2011.

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