MOBILE, Ala. (WKRG) — Mardi Gras is back this year and Mobilians are getting excited. Whether your decorating the house for Yardi Gras, buying king cake at the grocery store or getting ready for the balls, there is plenty of fun and curious traditions.

Whether a long-time Mardi Gras goer or a newcomer, there’s always something new to learn about the parade which originated here in Mobile. It has a long history, originating in the 17th century, according to Mardi Gras New Orleans. Traditions have changed over the years and the way Mobilians celebrate it today can be traced back to one individual, a man named Joe Cain. Cain rode into Mobile in a charcoal chariot dressed as a fictional native American chief called Slacabamarinico on Fat Tuesday in 1866 with his Lost Cause Minstrels.

The thing is, that didn’t happen, according to Mobile Mask.

Mobile Mask discovered newspaper archives showing Cain’s original ride through Mobile actually took place in 1868 on Mardi Gras day and may have been his way of protesting the Union occupation of Mobile, according to Alabama Legacy.

Interested in more Mardi Gras history? Here are some other facts about Mardi Gras Mobilians might like to know.

  1. Joe Cain may have written a pamphlet about Mardi Gras and his descendants are still looking for it.
  2. The Mobile History museum has a clipping signed by Joe Cain called “Myths and Mardi Gras” in their files.
  3. Erwin Craighead was the first reporter to write about Joe Cain.
  4. There’s a documentary about the original Mardi Gras troupe, “The Order of the Myths”.
  5. The king cake tradition may be pagan in origin. The Romans celebrated a festival called Saturnalia which also serves as the origin for many current Christmas traditions. Instead of a baby in a cake, Romans put a bean in a galette (king cake) and the person who found the bean would be the festival’s ‘king of the day’.