Mardi Gras dates through 2025

2018 Tuesday, February 13
2019 Tuesday, March 5
2020 Tuesday, February 25
2021 Tuesday, February 16
2022 Tuesday, March 1
2023 Tuesday, February 21
2024 Tuesday, February 13
2025 Tuesday, March 4

Mardi Gras in Mobile

Mardi Gras in Mobile is the annual Carnival celebration in Mobile, Alabama. It is the oldest annual Carnival celebration in the United States, started by Frenchman Nicholas Langlois in 1703. This was fifteen years before New Orlean was founded, although today their celebrations are much more widely known. From Mobile being the first capital of French Louisiana (1702), the festival began as a French Catholic tradition. Mardi Gras in Mobile has now evolved into a mainstream multi-week celebration across the spectrum of cultures in Mobile, becoming school holidays for the final Monday and Tuesday (some include Wednesday),regardless of religious affiliation.

Although Mobile has traditions of exclusive societies, with formal masked balls and elegant costumes, the celebration has evolved over the past three centuries to become typified by public parades where members of societies, often masked, on floats or horseback, toss gifts (known as throws) to the general public. Throws include necklaces of plastic beads, doubloon coins, decorated plastic cups, candy, wrapped cakes known as Moonpies or snacks, stuffed animals, and small toys, footballs, frisbees, or whistles.

The masked balls or dances, where non-masked men wear white tie and tails (full dress or costume de rigueur) and the women wear full length evening gowns, are oriented to adults, with some mystic societies treating the balls as an extension of the debutante season of their exclusive social circles. Various nightclubs and local bars offer their own particular events.

Beyond the public parades, Mardi Gras in Mobile involves many various mystic societies, some having begun in 1704, or ending with the Civil War, while new societies were formed every century. Some mystic societies are never seen in public parades, but rather hold invitation-only events for their secret members, with private balls beginning in November, each year.