I am not working at the Funeral Home today, believe it or not most of the city is closed today for the annual "Fat Tuesday" event. As I mentioned yesterday, I have a very busy week ahead of me, so I am going to use my time today very wisely.
Our longtime Webmaster and buddy "Plowboy" Kurt Nielsen arrives tomorrow evening, and I am also at the Funeral Home during the day tomorrrow and will be helping out later in the evening with The Gulf Coast Wrestlers Reunion before I go to the airport to retrieve Mr. Nielsen, and welcome him to "God's Country."
I am pleased to have my 'ol buddy, and wrestling legend Les Thatcher (above) at our GULF SOUTH WRESTLING Training Center on Thursday night. Many of you know that Les, along with Harley Race, and Dr. Tom Prichard, do seminars all over the country. Les has agreed to conduct a private mini-seminar for our talent, and future talent, just as a special favor for us. To say we are excited about this, is an understatement.
If you really want to step right into the local Mardi Gras action, one of our local television stations, WKRG-TV CBS, will have streaming live video from downtown Mobile all day today, beginning at 9:00 am (CT). Just click on This link: LIVE MOBILE, ALABAMA MARDI GRAS COVERAGE
Then, if you are really brave. Here's two links to streaming live Mardi Gras direct from Bourbon Street in New Orleans.
LIVE STREAMING VIDEO - BOURBON STREET
MORE NEW ORLEANS MARDI GRAS VIDEO ETC.
And for you "newbies" out there, here's a short history of exactly what this Mardi Gras stuff is all about. To do this, we will have to first explain the real meaning of the words, "Mardi Gras". The words, "Mardi Gras", is in the French language. Broken down, the words are, "Mardi", French for "Tuesday". "Gras", in French, means "Fat". In translating French to English, the last word spoken should be, (more or less) the first word translated. Therefore following this loose rule, the translation comes to mean, "Fat Tuesday". Now that we have the literal translation of the words, we need to know why this one Tuesday of the year is referred too, by the French, by this given name.
In the Middle Ages, the Catholic Church prescribed what was on the daily menu. Each week during the Lenten season, there was at least one day, and more often three or even four days (depending on where and when in medieval Europe, you were) during which no meat was to be eaten. For centuries, it was customary to fast by abstaining from meat with the lone exception of fish, during Lent.
In those days, long ago, people, of course, had no refrigeration, to hold perishable foods for long periods of time. Lenten season, requiring the observer to refrain from meat, presented some interesting problems for keeping and storing foods. Since the Lenten season is about 40 days long, in duration, meat on hand, had to either, be eaten, before the start of the observance or discarded.
Since Lent always starts on the seventh Wednesday before Easter, the religious following of Jesus, would choose the Tuesday before Ash Wednesday to feast, before beginning the season of "fasting". This way they could take care of two problems; the first, the hunger that goes along with fasting. The second, how to get rid of all that food before it spoiled, because they basically had a meatless and sometimes a very slim diet, for the next month. The French began to refer too this day as, "Fat Tuesday" or, as spoken in French, "Mardi Gras".
As a major holiday in parts of Europe and South America, the celebration dates back to 1703 when the tiny French colony of Mobile (the future Mobile, Alabama) observed North America's first Mardi Gras. The Cowbellion de Rakin society took loudly to the streets in 1830 armed with rakes, hoes and cowbells plundered from a hardware store, and no doubt later kept the feast with whatever food and drink they had. Although they marched on New Year's Eve and not Fat Tuesday, they were a true antecedent of Mardi Gras in Mobile and the first mystic societies, which were later formed in the 1830s. Later, in 1857, the Mobile members of the Cowbellian de Rakin Society traveled to New Orleans and assisted with the formation of the Mystic Krewe of Comus, to this day New Orleans' most prestigious Mardi Gras society. From these early roots grew the wonderful Mardi Gras celebrations found today in the Port City.
The stress of the Civil War brought an end to the annual festivities in Mobile. After the war and under Union occupation, the city was disillusioned and discouraged. On the afternoon of Fat Tuesday in 1866, Joseph Stillwell Cain set out to raise the spirits of Mobile. He donned Chickasaw Indian regalia, called himself "Chief Slacabormorinico," climbed aboard a decorated coal wagon pulled by a mule and held a one-float parade through the streets of Mobile. Mardi Gras with all its frivolity was reborn!
Cain founded many of the mystic societies and built a tradition of Mardi Gras parades, which continues today. In fact, he is remembered each year on Joe Cain Day, which is the Sunday before Ash Wednesday. Known as "the people's day," Mardi Gras revelers decorate anything they can push, pull, or drag for the Joe Cain Procession and parade, which is as much fun to watch as it is to ride. Cain himself participated in each year's festivity until he died at age 72.
Mobile, Alabama is not only the home of the first-known Mardi Gras celebration in North America in 1703, but also home to the modern America’s Family Mardi Gras which delights all ages from across the nation. This magnificent celebration lasts for nearly two weeks and culminates on Fat Tuesday, the day before Lent.
Now you know what it's all about!
HAPPY MARDI GRAS!