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February 2024 - What's Happening @ LWLC: Mardi Gras

Mardi Gras aka Fat Tuesday aka Carnival

Mardi Gras (French for "Fat Tuesday") is traditionally the day to indulge before fasting (or giving up an item or items) before Lent. In the U.S., Mardi Gras is seen as a good excuse to celebrate and have fun. In other countries (such as Brazil, France, and Italy), this day is known as Carnival. Recent years have seen these celebrations become a season of its own as different places celebrate it for different lengths of time, ranging from three days to almost a month.

Traditional practices include wearing masks and costumes, dancing, sports competitions, and especially, parades. In the U.S., Mardi Gras was celebrated where the French set up colonies with the first U.S. Mardi Gras parade being held in Mobile, Alabama in 1703. After New Orleans became the capital of French America (the area of which later became the 1803 Louisiana Purchase), the largest and most-famous Mardi Gras parades occur there. Parades are organized by different private social organizations that play a major role in the social and business functions of a city; these are called krewes in New Orleans, mystic societies in Mobile.

The colors of the text are in traditional Mardi Gras colors. These are a relatively recent U.S tradition decided by the New Orleans Krewe of Rex in 1892. Purple represents justice, Gold represents power or wealth, Green represents faith. These are seen in the costumes, floats, beads, and cakes. I've even seen cookies with these colors. Therefore, Mardi Gras souvenirs which include these three colors would be the best ones which represent U.S. Mardi Gras.


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Parades - Locations and Dates

Many cities in the Gulf Region have Mardi Gras parades. The two most popular are in Mobile, Alabama and New Orleans, Louisiana.

Mobile - Parades will be held Jan. 26 - Feb. 13, 2024.

More information can be found here.

New Orleans - Parades will be held Jan. 6 - Feb. 18, 2024. 

More information can be found here.

For 2024, Mardi Gras is on Feb. 13, 2024.

Which one to visit? Are there other parades to watch? Here are some sites for reference: 

10 Best Cities to Celebrate Mardi Gras in the U.S.- Useful reference to see that Montgomery is neither in the best or worst locations, but Montgomery is close to three of the best locations (Baton Rouge, Metairie, and Mobile). 

Baton Rouge Mardi Gras - Baton Rouge is the capital of Louisiana. Parades will be held from Jan. 20 - Feb. 12, 2024.

History of Mardi Gras in the U.S.A. - History of Mardi Gras in the U.S. (New Orleans was not the first place in the U.S. Mardi Gras was celebrated) and where celebrations are held across the U.S.

Mardi Gras Parade Tips and Recommendations (New Orleans)

Books & E-books

These are a few of the books and e-books related to Mardi Gras accessible to LWLC patrons:

Also, Encyclopedia of Alabama has an entry on Mardi Gras in Mobile.

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