Did you know that Mobile Mardi Gras 2017 is the oldest annual Carnival celebration in the United States? The first Mardi Gras was celebrated here in 1703 and it doesn't look like we're going to stop anytime, soon!
Mardi Gras itself predates the U.S. by thousands of years. The origin is pagan celebrations of spring and fertility, according to historians. Carnival eventually merged with Christianity because that was easier than abolishing the popular, time-honored tradition! Consequently, Mardi Gras became a prelude to Lent, the 40 days between Ash Wednesday and Easter Sunday.
One aspect of the Mobile Mardi Gras 2017 that makes it unique is the prevalence of the Moon Pie.
During Mardi Gras parades, Krewe members aboard the floats toss various things into the crowds: "throws." Throws are often strings of bright plastic beads, charms, and the like. In Mobile, one very popular throw is the humble yet delicious Moon Pie.
Moon Pies gained their popularity as a throw when Cracker Jack was banned because the boxes could cause injury. Moon Pies - chocolate covered graham cracker cookies with a marshmallow center - were the perfect replacement, being soft, round and, frankly, delicious.
There are lots of different Moon Pies out there. The Chattanooga Bakery produced the original Moon Pie in 1916, and they're still making them! Other companies make similar products for Mobile's Mardi Gras, known as "Mardi Gras Pies." Mardi Gras Pies will often have a krewe’s emblem printed on the wrapper.