Wait, Christmas songs? Nooooooooooo……
No worries, Christmas is indeed over, but in New Orleans, just because we’ve rung in the New Year, doesn’t mean we are done celebrating. Why? Because, on the twelfth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me….
One king’s cake!
Any NOLA-ite knows that Twelfth Night (12 days following Christmas) marks the beginning of the Carnival season in New Orleans. Each year, on January 6th the city transitions from its Holiday haze into a carnival mindset. Since Mardi Gras and the Carnival season are Christian celebrations, the start to the season begins on the Christian Epiphany and ends on Fat Tuesday, the day before the start of lent.
Today, most New Orleanians celebrate the start of Carnival with the infamous king cake! One of the oldest krewe’s in New Orleans, the Twelfth Night Revelers, kick off the ball season with their annual masked ball where they present a kings cake. At the ball all of the eligible maids are presented with a bean from the cake and the maid who receives the golden bean is to reign as the queen of the ball and the first queen of the Carnival season.
The king cake, and the plastic baby (used now instead of a bean), have been a staple of the New Orleans Carnival season ever since (but of course the king cake tradition can be traced back further than the 200 year history of Louisiana). While the balls may not be open to the public, there is certainly no shortage of celebrations in this city! Perhaps the best way to kick off the Carnival season is to watch the Phunny Phorty Phellows ride the St. Charles Avenue Street Car line. Nothing can beat this party in the streets to kick off the season!
NOLA, grab your king cake and claim your favorite parade watching spot, Carnival has arrived!