Captain's Cabin

Pirate Lord of the Platinum Coast
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Monday, February 4, 2008

Myth Monday: Mardi Gras

I was supposed to get this done on Sunday for Zed-Monster's Bad Kitties Festival of Choas. However, they are running a little late as well, so perhaps it all works out.

Mardi Gras (French for "Fat Tuesday") is the day before Ash Wednesday, and is also called "Shrove Tuesday" or "Pancake Day". Mardi Gras is the final day of Carnival, though the term is often used incorrectly to describe the days and weeks preceding Fat Tuesday. Carnival begins 12 days after Christmas, or Twelfth Night, on January 6 and ends on Mardi Gras, which always falls exactly 47 days before Easter. Perhaps the cities most famous for their Mardi Gras celebrations include New Orleans, Louisiana; Venice, Italy; and Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Many other places have important Mardi Gras celebrations as well. Carnival is an important celebration in most of Europe, except in the United Kingdom where pancakes are the tradition, and also in many parts of Latin America and the Caribbean.


While not observed nationally throughout the United States, a number of cities and regions in the country have notable celebrations. Mardi Gras arrived in North America as a sedate French Catholic tradition with the Le Moyne brothers, Pierre Le Moyne d'Iberville and Jean-Baptiste Le Moyne de Bienville, in the late 17th century, when King Louis XIV sent the pair to defend France's claim on the territory of Louisianne, which included what are now the U.S. states of Alabama, Mississippi, and Louisiana.

The expedition, led by Iberville, entered the mouth of the Mississippi River on the evening of March 2, 1699, Lundi Gras, not yet knowing it was the river explored and claimed for France by René-Robert Cavelier, Sieur de La Salle in 1683. The party proceeded upstream to a place on the west bank about 60 miles downriver from where New Orleans is today, where a small tributary emptied into the great river, and made camp. This was on March 3, 1699, Mardi Gras day, so in honor of this holiday, Iberville named the spot Point du Mardi Gras (French: "Mardi Gras Point") and called the small tributary Bayou Mardi Gras. Bienville went on to found the settlement of Mobile, Alabama in 1702 as the first capital of French Louisiana, and in 1703 the Mardi Gras tradition began with celebrations by the French settlers in that city.

By 1720, Biloxi been made capital of Louisiana. The French customs were introduced there at that time. In 1723, the capital of Louisiana was moved to a new town, founded in 1718, called Nouvelle-Orléans (New Orleans), and the tradition would take root there also. In more recent times several other U.S. cities without a French Catholic heritage have instituted the celebration of Mardi Gras.


We do not celebrate Mardi Gras in Cape Coral and Fort Myers. However, Mardi Gras is celebrated in Florida. Pensacola, Florida hosts a Mardi Gras Celebration. The Pensacola celebrations also use Moon Pies in combination with beads, coins, candies & Krewe related trades. The Pensacola festivities and the Krewes that sponsor them often are more light-hearted and family-oriented than some in other venues. The name of a number of the Krewes are puns of the names of historic Krewes in New Orleans and Mobile.


According to, Tuesday, Februray 5 is the date of the Mardi Gras Celebration for 2008 in the US. You can find all sorts of interesting things there including the Parade Schedule, Pictures, Press Releases, and lots of party plans and shopping so that you can celebrate your own Carnival in case you can't make to Nouvelle-Orléans or Pensacola.

Happy Carnival to you!


Dragonheart & Merlin said...

Thanks for the information, Diamond! Here in Bavaria, Fasching was celebrated this past weekend. It is a time of celebration before the quiet, reflective time of Lent begins.

-d ma said...

I've always wanted to visit New Orleans during Mardi Gras. Thanks for educating me on what it is all about.

P.S. Your Mardi Gras outfit is fab.

Cheysuli and gemini said...

Interesting. So I can go caucus or vote on Super Tuesday and then go party? What an idea!

Team Tabby said...

It's pancakes here. Mardi Gras sounds like lotsa fun, tho. Thanks for collecting and posting all the info, and, it is very informative.

Mindy & MOe

jan said...

We'd love to celebrate Mardi Gras, but we don't want to wear that sissy blue collar.

Misty the alpha Poodle

Eric and Flynn said...

That was very interesting Diamond. We had only heard about New Orleans and Mardi Gras. As you said, here in the UK, we don't have a Carnival, in fact we have very few carnivals, the most famous being Notting Hill Carnival.

PKPWV said...

You have alot of bling bling on!! Nice! Hope you find a place to celebrate Mardi Gras-I don't think mom is going to take us anywhere-but maybe we'll get bling bling!!

Kodak, 3 Perf and Winton

Sunny's Mommy said...

You look beautiful in your pictures, Diamond. You got lots of shiny beads, too!

Mickey said...

Thank you for such an informative post! I like to come here on Mondays!!
WE have Pancake Day here :)
Mom likes them,me not so much ;)
Purrs Mickey

The Furry Fighter said...

oooo PANCAKES!!!! my bean likes them wiv sugar and lemon juice best! we alsomlike Mardi Gras - they have a big gay one in Manchester every summer - but I finks this is a different sort of celebration!

fanks for coming to our birthday party! xxx

Kellie The Orange Cat said...

I LOVE your collar, and it looks like you gots lots of beads, what did you have to do to get them?

Annie Mosaic Cat said...

You better keep those shiny beads away from ML. She is OBSESSED with making mosaics with vintage costume jewelry right now. (Now that she does not have to obsess about me full time since I came home today. Not that this stops her.)

Marilyn MonREOW said...

What great information on Mardi Gras! Thank you for your excellent post -- I learned a lot!

Purrs and snuggles from Marilyn!

MoMo said...

A most interesting and informative post. Nothing much happens here in Oz. We have very few carnivals. So I am teleporting to Rio for its sizzling Carnaval. May I borrow your beautiful collar for my costume?

Parker said...

That was very interesting! AND you look lovely in your carnival gear!

Isis said...

We don't get Mardi Gras over here, but I like all the blingy bits! Here we get pancake day and that means pancakes stuffed with fruit and topped with yoghurt here after the boy comes home after Ice Hockey practice. The good thing is I'll get to lick up all the left over yoghurt! :)