Carnival season on Coast will start Jan. 5

Tammy Smith: 228-896-2130, @Simmiefran1

King D’Iberville Mark Donlon Mavar and Queen Ixolib Christina Ann Carter celebrate the beginning of Mardi Gras during a past Twelfth Night in Biloxi.
King D’Iberville Mark Donlon Mavar and Queen Ixolib Christina Ann Carter celebrate the beginning of Mardi Gras during a past Twelfth Night in Biloxi. Sun Herald file

Almost before the last bubble has floated out of what’s left in your New Year’s Eve Champagne bottle, Carnival season will be here.

It all starts with the Twelfth Night celebration in Biloxi, which will be Thursday, Jan. 5.

This is the fourth year Biloxi will begin the season Jan. 5 with a gathering at the Visitors Center at 1050 Beach Blvd. followed by a parade to the Mardi Gras Museum, at 119 Rue Magnolia.

At 6 p.m., the reigning Royal Court of the Gulf Coast Carnival Association will be presented to extinguish the Christmas lights at the Biloxi Lighthouse.

King D’Iberville 2016 is James W. “Jim” Hardaman, and Queen Ixolib 2016 is Kimberley Nicole Rushton. The Royal Court then will board a Mardi Gras float and parade to the Mardi Gras Museum. At 6:30 p.m., the lights at the Mardi Gras Museum will be illuminated and Biloxi’s Carnival season officially will begin.

“The Biloxi Visitors Center is where we began the holiday season, with the lighting of the decorations at the Biloxi Lighthouse, and this will be where we also will end the holiday season as we usher in the Carnival season,” Visitors Center manager Bill Raymond said.

Like Carnival itself (and Ash Wednesday), Twelfth Night, which some celebrate on Jan. 5 and some on Jan. 6, 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.

As for Mardi Gras, or Fat Tuesday, it’ll be Feb. 28 this year. Mardi Gras is always 45 days before Easter, which can fall on any Sunday between March 23 and April 25. Easter Sunday in 2017 will be April 16.

Gulfcoast.org has compiled an extensive list of all the Carnival activities scheduled so far on the Coast for 2017:

Jan. 5

▪ Biloxi Twelfth Night

Jan. 14

▪ Krewe of Legacy Mardi Gras ball

Jan. 28

▪ Orange Grove Carnival Association parade

Feb. 4

▪ Krewe of Nereids Mardi Gras ball

Feb. 11

▪ Lizana parade

▪ Ocean Springs Elks Mardi Gras parade

▪ Pass Christian Krewe of Legacy parade

Feb. 18

▪ Biloxi Children’s parade

▪ Krewe of Mystic of Pine Island parade

▪ Carnival Association of Long Beach parade

▪ Krewe of Little Rascals Children’s parade

▪ Bay St. Louis Krewe of Kids parade

▪ Gautier Men’s Club parade

▪ Krewe of Neptune coronation ball

Feb. 19

▪ Krewe of Veterans ball

▪ Ocean Springs Carnival Association night parade

Feb. 25

▪ Krewe of Gemini parade

▪ Jackson County Carnival Association parade

▪ Krewe of Diamondhead parade

▪ Krewe of Neptune parade

Feb. 26

▪ D’Iberville/St. Martin North Bay Area parade

▪ Pass Christian St. Paul Carnival parade (The Pass parade)

Feb. 27

▪ Gulf Coast Carnival Association ball

▪ Bay St. Louis Mystic Krewe of the Seahorse parade

Feb. 28

▪ Bay St. Louis Krewe of Diamonds parade

▪ Gulfport Krewe of Gemini night parade

▪ Biloxi Gulf Coast Carnival Association parade

Tammy Smith: 228-896-2130, @Simmiefran1