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Claiming Mardi Gras

Posted: March 3, 2014, 2:15 p.m.
by Maggie Jones.

From my mom telling college stories of the exciting times in Mobile watching parades, to my friends all rushing down to New Orleans to start the party – there seems to be an ongoing feud about which city does Mardi Gras better.

Mardi Gras, French for “Fat Tuesday” and “carnival season” in English, is religiously based on the Lent season in Christianity. The main idea is to celebrate before fasting begins on Ash Wednesday. The appeal of this celebration is what makes the spirit and popularity of Mardi Gras so interesting.

Just because New Orleans does it bigger doesn’t mean it does it better. Mobile might be smaller, but this exuberant city is the origin of the very first Mardi Gras celebration in 1703. It is also the site of the first secret Mardi Gras society in 1704, similar to today’s krewes.

The city where Mardi Gras was founded has yet to disappoint when it comes to the festivities. The Mardi Gras balls, dresses, jewelry and parades have continued to grow throughout the decades.

The tradition within established families entwined with religious relevance and party splendor attracts people of all ages — an unusual dynamic seen in the streets of Mobile. This is due in part to the community involvement that makes it an exciting and memorable place to celebrate.

New Orleans
This city of nonstop partying can be credited with the extravagant parades Mardi Gras consists of today. Colorful beads rain down from the most elaborate floats that fill the streets of New Orleans during this season.

Having the infamous Bourbon Street also contributes to this exhilarating atmosphere and appeals to those who love a good celebration. New Orleans is not only party-central but also contains a great deal of historical Mardi Gras significance. The combination of the two creates an environment rich with culture and celebration.

With all these things in mind, collegians like me still can’t be sure where exactly the carnival is best. We are just looking for a good parade, some beads and an awesome party.

Check out an itinerary of Fat Tuesday festivities in both locations via the links below, and you can choose for yourself where the celebration is best.

Photo by steph_lawton
Photo by steph_lawton

Photo by RoundBaySailor
Photo by RoundBaySailor


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    Maggie, you have taught me something new. I had no idea that Mardi Gras started in Mobile. I always assumed it began in New Orleans. I have only been to New Orleans once and that was this January for the Sugar Bowl. All my friends prior to my trip kept telling me I need to go experience that type of atmosphere for myself at least once. It was an exciting experience I will never forget. Plus the stories about beads are true; I ended up bring home several of them. The links you provided to each city’s celebration itinerary gave me insight on how the styles of one differ from the other. No matter which city you choose I think it is about the memories people gain just from attending and like you said an awesome party.


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