The Gulf Coast’s colors are changing from holiday green and red to green, gold and purple Friday, Jan. 5, as Twelfth Night officially brings in Carnival season.
For the fifth year, Biloxi will start the season’s celebrations on the Mississippi Gulf Coast. It all begins at 5 p.m. at the Biloxi Visitors Center, 10150 Beach Blvd., followed by a parade to the nearby Mardi Gras Museum, 119 Rue Magnolia.
“The Biloxi Visitors Center is where we began the holiday season, with the lighting of the decorations at the Biloxi Lighthouse,” Visitors Center Manager Bill Raymond said, “and this will be where we also will end the holiday season as we usher in the Carnival season.”
This year, the krewes of Neptune and Les Cavaliers join the Gulf Coast Carnival Association, the City of Biloxi and the Biloxi Mardi Gras Museum as sponsors.
At 6 p.m., the reigning leaders of Carnival — King d’Iberville 2017 Kent Nicaud and Queen Ixolib 2017 Molly Atherton — will be presented to extinguish the Christmas lights at the Biloxi Lighthouse, which is right in front of the Visitors Center. The entourage then boards a Carnival float and moves the party to the Mardi Gras Museum. There, at 6:30, festive lights will signal the beginning of Carnival season. This year, the number of floats involved increases to three and possibly four. Live music at the Museum will be provided by Coast band Blackwater Brass.
Like Carnival itself (and Ash Wednesday), Twelfth Night has its origins in the Christian faith, representing the arrival of the three wise men who visited the infant Jesus. The three wise men, or Maji, had followed a star indicating His birth.
This year, Fat Tuesday will be on Feb. 13. Mardi Gras (French for Fat Tuesday) is always 45 days before Easter, which can fall on any Sunday between March 23 and April 25. Easter Sunday in 2018 will be April 1.