Monday, February 27, 2017

Mardi Gras (-1)- Throws

 "Throw me something, Mister!"
-A common refrain heard at Mardi Gras Parades around Mobile.

Mobile, Alabama, was the capital of French Louisiana before New Orleans was less than a tiny village. Mardi Gras in Alabama is a BIG thing. It started in Mobile in 1703, 15 years before New Orleans was founded.

 (Source for information: Wikipedia Article: Mardi Gras in Mobile.)

For many of the Mardi Gras parades in Mobile members of societies on floats toss gifts to the general public, known as throws, that include plastic beads, doubloon coins, decorated plastic cups, candy, wrapped cakes/snacks, stuffed animals, and small toys, footballs, frisbees, or whistles.
Mardi Gras throws have themselves evolved over the years. As little as 20 years ago, the beads thrown by Mobile maskers were small, cheap plastic pieces, and few maskers gave much thought to them. Today, the beads can be the most expensive items on a masker's throw list.
In 1956, the first Moon Pies were thrown by children on the Queen's float in the Comic Cowboys parade.[17] Moon Pies have since become a staple of Mardi Gras in Mobile.

And while talking about food (a very loose description of Moon Pies I realize!) let's not forget the King Cakes!
The first week of January starts the king cake season. The traditional king cake was associated with Epiphany, January 6, also known as Twelfth Night, when English and Europeans celebrated Christmas for twelve days up to this night. The current version is a coffee cake, and is oblong and braided. The cake is iced with a simple icing and covered with purple, green and gold sugar. Each cake contains a small hidden baby doll. According to custom, whoever finds the doll must either buy the next King Cake or throw the next King Cake party. In Mobile, people throw hundreds of King Cake parties every year, and thousands of cakes are made, bought and eaten.
Well worth it!

Mardi Gras is supposed to be fun. Lent is coming, a time when we are supposed to be penitent and introspective. Lent is not a time of joy, but one of repentance. The festivities come to an end at the stroke of midnight tomorrow.

So- throw them beads and let's continue for one more day!

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