Mardi Gras

Mardi Gras MasksMardi Gras is a colorful celebration held on Shrove Tuesday, the day before the Lenten season begins. The date of Mardi Gras depends on the date of Easter. The celebration takes place at the end of a long carnival season, which begins on January 6th or "Twelfth Night." It is celebrated in mainly Roman Catholic countries and other communities. Mardi Gras is a French term meaning "Fat Tuesday" that arose from the custom of parading a fat ox through the streets of Paris on Shrove Tuesday.

French colonists introduced Mardi Gras into America at Mobile, Alabama in 1766. The custom became popular and spread throughout the southern states. Mardi Gras in New Orleans attracts carnival celebrants from around the world. Street parades begin about two weeks before Mardi Gras Day. Societies, called Krewes, organize and pay for the parades and other festivities. The best known Krewes are Comus, the oldest, founded in 1857; and Rex, founded in 1872.

During the carnival season, the Krewes host formal ball and private parties. Their members parade the streets in masks and fancy dress. A parade of beautiful floats and marching bands climax the carnival on Tuesday, Mardi Gras Day. Each year, the festivities carry out a specific theme. Rex, King of Carnival, reigns for the day.

The Mystic Krewe of Apollo

The Mystic Krewe of Apollo was founded in New Orleans in 1969 to foster brotherhood, unity and equality within the gay community and throughout society. The main function is an annual Bal Masque during the Mardi Gras season.

The Mystic Krewe of Apollo - Birmingham was founded in 1976. The first Bal Masque was held during the 1977 carnival season. The previous balls-to-date have established the Apollo reputation for splendor, creativity, and gaiety in Birmingham.

Annually selected by the members of the Krewe, the Captain must submit a ball theme, budget, listing of ball characters. Once selected, the Captain is responsible for presenting an outstanding Bal Masque as well as having the privilege of selecting a King and Queen to be crowned at the conclusion of his Bal Masque. The newly crowned King and Queen Apollo reign throughout the next year, representing the Krewe at various community events.

Apollo - Birmingham enjoys a relationship with our sister Krewes; The Krewe of Apollo Baton Rouge, The Mystic Krewe of Apollo de Lafayette and The Mystic Krewe of Apollo de New Orleans. We are also pleased to be joined in the celebration of Mardi Gras by The Krewe of the Druids from Tuscaloosa as well as The Mystic Krewe of Caritas in Birmingham.