Discover Coastal Alabama Winter/Spring 2019 - Page 39

A SHORT GUIDE TO Mardi Gras Lingo BAL MASQUE (pronounced ball mask´) (n.) the formal masked ball of a mystic society featuring dramatic entertainment, music, dancing, food, and drinks. If the organization parades, the bal masque is usually held immediately after the annual parade, or if a day parade is held, later that evening. BEADS (n.) necklaces worn by revelers and maskers alike. Beads vary widely in color, size, style, length, and quality. (n.) form of currency at a Carnival parade whose value mysteriously declines by Ash Wednesday. MASKER (n.) a mystic society member in mask and costume CARNIVAL COLORS (n.) The official colors of Mobile’s Mardi on a parade float. Maskers are required by their organization bylaws to be masked when appearing in public. COSTUME DE RIGUEUR (n.) Required attire at a formal bal masque. Slight variations exist, but typically involve full-length evening gowns and white tie with tails for invited guests and masked costumes for society members. MOONPIE (n.) The official throw of Mobile Mardi Gras since 1952. Marshmallow filling sandwiched between two chocolate cov- ered cookies. These bear the trademark name MoonPie and are baked by the Chattanooga Bakery. All others should be called Mardi Gras pies. DOUBLOON (n.) coin tossed by riding maskers. At one time, MYSTIC SOCIETY (n.) a secret membership organization that some were wooden, now they are aluminum. Most bear a Society’s emblem on one side and the parade theme on the other. presents parades, bal masque, and other activities for the rev- elry of members, invited guests, and the public. EMBLEM FLOAT (n.) typically the first float in a parade, de- QUEEN (n.) Female sovereign who reigns over a parade, a bal masque, or both. Since 1893 a Queen has ruled over Mobile Mardi Gras beside King Felix III, while another Queen rules beside King Elexis I. The coronation of the queen is a highly anticipated annual event. Tickets may be purchased by the general public. Gras are purple and gold representing justiceand power. Green (faith) is a New Orleans import. signed in the likeness of the society’s emblem. These one-of-a- kind floats often carry society board members and sometimes feature the costumed persona of the mystic society itself. KING CAKE (n.) ring shaped pastry decorated with colored sugar, often with one or more fillings. KING FELIX III, KING ELEXIS I (n.) The two mon- archs that rule over Mardi Gras in Mobile. King Felix was first crowned in 1872. King Felix III has been crowned every year by the Mobile Carnival Association (MCA) since 1927. King Elexis I has been chosen each year by the Mobile Area Mardi Gras Association (MAMGA) since 1939. LAISSEZ LES BON TEMPS ROULER (pronounced lay-zay lay bon ton role-ay) French for one of the most spoken phrases in the Cajun speak of the land. It’s almost risen to the level of a battle cry. Let the good times roll! MARDI GRAS (n.) literally, “Fat Tuesday.” The last day of Carnival celebrated with numerous parades and balls. Though a misnomer, the term Mardi Gras is often used to describe the entire Carnival season. Shrove Tuesday falls the day before Ash Wednesday, when the 40-day penitential season of Lent begins. REVELER (n.) festive merrymaker who participates in a parade en masse. TABLEAUX (n.) an elaborate production or a series of scenes, skits, or dances linked by a theme. Often performed by mystic society members at bal masques. THROWS (n.) Any item tossed from a float to the crowds of revelers below by maskers in the form of trinkets, candy, toys, novelties, doubloons or other souvenirs; beads of all styles, sizes, and colors; and of course, Moon Pies. “THROW ME SOMETHING, MISTER!” The standard call for those on a parade route wanting to receive throws. DISCOVER COASTAL ALABAMA - WINTER/SPRING 2019 39