Tag Archives: Twelfth Night

Mardi Gras Is Coming!

Every year, just as the rest of the nation is winding down after the 1-2-3 punch of Thanksgiving-Christmas/Hanukkah-New Year’s, we in New Orleans are just getting started. The festivities begin on Twelfth Night with the Phunny Phorty Phellows riding the streetcar down St. Charles, heralding the start of Carnival season. The night is also Joan of Arc’s birthday which is celebrated with a parade through the French Quarter. Though not everyone attends events that day, most offices (and many homes) commemorate the season with King Cake. In the last few years, King Cake has become the focus of parties with people bringing cakes from their favorite bakeries and sampling them all.

In our home, Twelfth Night’s passing means turning the Saints’ Who Dat wreath into a Mardi Gras wreath and switching the tree decorations from Christmas to Carnival. Continue reading

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King Cake

Twelfth Night sounds the alarm that Carnival is just around the corner, but it’s also the starter pistol for King Cake season. Throughout New Orleans, people have been eating King Cake daily for a week. Officemates take turns bringing in cakes from different bakeries. If they follow the tradition, whoever finds “the baby” buys the next cake. The plastic baby used to be a red bean when the tradition first came to New Orleans in 1870. The wreath of cinnamon-layered bread can be stuffed with cream cheese, strawberry jam, etc. and the whole works is topped with a white icing and sugar in the traditional Mardi Gras colors of purple for justice, green for faith and gold for power. Continue reading

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Joan of Arc Parade and Twelfth Night

Based on a medieval tradition, Twelfth Night ends the 12 days of Christmas. In New Orleans, January 6th marks the beginning of the Mardi Gras season and an official permission slip to start eating the traditional King Cake. It’s also Joan of Arc’s birthday (1412-1431). Since 2009, the city has celebrated the date with a parade honoring the “Maid of Orleans” and NOLA’s ties to France. Continue reading

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