Did Mobile, AL really invent Mardi Gras? When will it start? What is mystic society? Who is Joe Cain?! If any of these questions have popped into your mind when planning a trip to Mobile for Mardi Gras, we have answers.

 

  • How did Mardi Gras traditions begin in Mobile?

    • Mobile’s Mardi Gras traditions trace back to 1703 when French settlers held the first celebration to commemorate their first year of survival in the community they built. Today, the lively festivities showcase a variety of cultural influences and feature parades, elaborate costumes and other prized traditions. One of Mobile’s highly-anticipated Mardi Gras celebrations include Joe Cain Day, an event dedicated to the legacy of the key figure who helped revitalize the city’s post-Civil War efforts. Join the crowd in celebrating Joe Cain’s impact on the Port City on Saturday, February 11! Learn more information here.

  • When is Mardi Gras? 

    • This year, Mardi Gras Day falls on Tuesday, February 13, 2024. Good news! The celebrations aren’t exclusively limited to just one day. In fact, the good times are rolling now. Check out our Mardi Gras page and parade schedule to join the party.

  • What role do mystic societies play in Mardi Gras?

    • Mystic societies contribute to the lure of Mardi Gras by adding an air of mystery and tradition to the celebrations. These elusive organizations, many with origins dating back to the mid-19th century, coordinate elaborate parades for the public and balls, complete with live music, local fare and refreshing libations, for their guests. Each organization flaunts its own unique theme and mystique. From flamboyant costumes to intricate floats, mystic societies combine tradition, community and revelry, creating an unforgettable spectacle for locals and visitors alike.

  • Where are the most convenient spots to catch a parade?

    • So many parades. So many routes. Which one will you decide? These streets not only provide the best views of each parade but are also close to some of Mobile’s most popular restaurants, attractions and highways

    • Route A: Spring Hill Avenue or Government Street

    • Route B: South Royal Street or Government Street

    • Route C: Spring Hill Avenue, South Conception Street or Government Street

    • Route D: Spring Hill Avenue or Dr Martin Luther King Avenue

    • Route E: South Broad Street, North Broad Street or Government Street, South Washington Street

    • Route F: Government Street, Church Street or South Royal Street

    • Route G: South Broad Street, Government Street, South Conception Street or South Royal Street 

    • Route H: Canal Street, South Broad Street, Spring Hill Avenue, or Government Street

    • Route I: Government Street and South Royal Street

  • Throw me something, mister! What are some quirky and unique throws I might catch at a parade?

    • Parade throws can range from branded trinkets from the mystic societies, and doubloons to glow-in-the-dark necklaces and sunglasses. Paradegoers have even been known to grab up packages of ramen noodles, Conecuh sausage and Mobile-themed plushies. You’ll leave the parade with new swag no matter what you catch!

    • Pro tip: Be on the lookout for more than beads and be prepared to duck. You never know when a box of MoonPies will be headed your way!

  • What is the significance of MoonPies?

    • Mobile + MoonPies + Mardi Gras = a true love story!  The graham cracker, marshmallow filled (and dipped in either chocolate, banana, or coconut) treats gained popularity in 1952 when organizations began tossing them to parade goers and have since become a beloved and tasty symbol of celebration in Mobile.

    • (Psst!! … We even have a MoonPie drop event for New Year’s Eve!)

  • How do local businesses participate in Mardi Gras?

    • Mobile’s local businesses dive into the carnival spirit headfirst. From bedazzling storefronts to offering special edition drinks and menus with king cake variations, businesses in the area are all about making each Mardi Gras one to remember. Some actively engage by sponsoring parade floats and hosting carnival-centric events. Our local businesses not only celebrate Mardi Gras but also amplify the community’s energy and excitement.

  • Where can I buy a king cake? Or two?

    • What’s Mardi Gras without king cake? Adorned with purple, gold and green icing and sprinkles, this seasonal pastry is a delicious centerpiece for all Fat Tuesday gatherings. Look before you dig in! There might be a small plastic figurine in your slice. Tradition states that the person who has the trinket in their slice is responsible for bringing next year’s king cake to the party. Want to know where to get your king cake fix? Check out our blog post about the best places to purchase one here

  • What does “laissez les bon temps rouler” mean?

    • Derived from the Cajun French expression “Let the good times roll,” this saying embodies the spirit of Mardi Gras and encourages people to let loose and enjoy life to the fullest. “Laissez les bon temps rouler” is the ultimate invitation for revelry and a grand time!