The birthplace of Mardi Gras in AmericaSorry New Orleans, Mardi Gras was born in Mobile.

Mobile, founded by Pierre Le Moyne D'Iberville of France in 1702, was home to the first Mardi Gras celebration in 1703 — 15 years before New Orleans was even founded. Mobile was also the birthplace of the Masque de la Mobile mystic society, or "krewe," formed in 1704. More than four centuries later, those krewes are still responsible for the vast majority of parades and balls of Carnival.

Mardi Gras in Mobile is widely revered as the oldest annual Carnival celebration in the United States. Altogether, 1.3 million people take part in Mobile's Carnival festivities, also making it the second-largest community festival in the country.

Also known as the “Epiphany,” or the “Twelfth Night”, Mardi Gras season begins January 6 - 12 days after Christmas to represent the day the Wise Men found Jesus and gave Him their gifts. The season continues until Fat Tuesday.

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Mardi Gras &The King Cake

The tradition of the King Cake began in the 1870's. A cornerstone of the Mardi Gras celebration, the oval cake is baked in honor of the three kings, hence the name. The shape of a King Cake symbolizes the circular journey of the Wise Men, down to Egypt and then back to Bethlehem. Each cake is decorated in the traditional Mardi Gras colors: purple to represent justice, green for faith and gold to represent power. A small baby, symbolizing the baby Jesus, is hidden in each cake.

Like the biblical story, the "search for the baby" adds excitement, as each person waits to see in whose slice of cake the baby will be discovered.While custom holds that the person who finds the baby in their slice will be rewarded with good luck, that person is also traditionally responsible for bringing the King Cake to the next party or gathering. Mardi Gras and King Cakes go hand in hand, especially in Mobile. Hundreds of thousands of king cakes are consumed at parties, offices and in homes every year.

While the pastry goes by different names around the world, and comes in varying shapes and styles, the traditional King Cake is made from cinnamon dough, topped with icing, and sprinkled with purple, green, and gold colored sugar. Today, many additional varieties of King Cake are also available, with fillings such as cream cheese, raspberry, apple, and pecan.

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