Sunday, January 27, 2013

Mardi Gras in Alabama in the Era of the Confederacy

Our family just enjoyed the Prattville AL Mardi Gras parade yesterday afternoon and we are making plans to celebrate the Millbrook event next weekend, Saturday February 2nd.  Although tiny parades in comparison to those held in Mobile, Biloxi, Pensacola and New Orleans, these are enjoyable events for the family to attend.  Mardi Gras in Alabama is actually an historical tradition and the first celebrations were held and mystic societies or krewes were organized in the country were in Alabama at the very beginnings of the 18th century.  The French and Spanish colonial histories of the gulf coast region served as the genesis of the celebratory observation of the last day before Ash Wednesday, the start of Lent from a religious perspective but what has evolved into a month long carnival culminating with Fat Tuesday revelry.  The first parades were conducted in Mobile and it was businessmen formerly of Mobile who in 1856 organized the first and oldest krewe in New Orleans, the Mistick Krewe of Comus.  During the War for Southern Independence, Mardi Gras celebrations were cancelled.  According to Wikepedia though, immediately after the War, in 1866 Joe Cain revived the Mardi Gras parades by portraying a fictional Chickasaw Indian 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 Myrhs, Mobile's oldest mystic society that continues to parade, was founded in 1867 and held its first parade on Mardi Gras night in 1868.

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