Mardi Gras ,"Fat Tuesday", is a custom that originated long ago in Southern Europe. It is celebrated just before the forty days of lent. Mardi Gras is celebrated on the Tuesday before Ash Wednesday. It was setup principally to entertain the Grand Duke, Alexis Romanoff of Russia. Through time and evolution this simple French custom was turned into an extravagant party - going holiday.
Here in New Iberia, we celebrate Mardi Gras in many different ways. We have extraordinary parades and 24 hour parties sponsored by various krewes(groups). New Iberia is also famous for the exclusive Mardi Gras Balls. In addition, we have costum judging contests, Fais-do-dos, Le courrir de Mardi Gras(running of the Mardi Gras), Zydeco dances,and communal Boucheries (hog butcherings). Here in Acadiana, maskers ride on horseback going from house to house begging and collecting things for a chicken gumbo. They also stroll through the streets playing tricks on neighbors. Mardi Gras is very old, but it is very young.
New Iberia is famous for many things, but one of those things is the beautiful and delicious King Cake. In New Iberia, the King Cake is prepared and eaten during the Epiphany season. The King Cake is believed to have originated in France around the 12th century. The main theme in baking the King Cake is to honor the three kings. It is made in the pattern of a circle to portray the circular route used by the Wisemen to get to the Baby Jesus. In the early King Cakes, a bean or pea was placed inside the cake. The person who found the piece was King for the day, or was said to have good luck in the following year. Now, in New Iberia, we have small plastic babies in the King Cake. Whoever gets the baby has to hold the next King Cake party or provide the next King Cake. Are you hungry for some King Cake? The customs have changed slightly, but we still celebrate the theme, "Party today for tomorrow we fast."
Click on the links below to find out more about New Orleans Mardi Gras celebrations, "The Big Mambo"
Dates for future Mardi Gras
2001-February 27 2005-February 08 2009-February 24 2013-February 12 2017-February 26
2002-February 12 2006-February 28 2010-February 16 2014-March 04
2003-March 04 2007-February 20 2011-March 08 2015-February 17
2004-February 24 2008-February 05 2012-February 21 2016-February 09
An annual Sugarcane Festival Run, a King's Reception, festival ball, a Mass and Blessing of the Crop, Brown Bag concerts, parades, fais-do-dos and many other activities are held throughout the Sugarcane Festival. There are also many shows and contests. The Queens Sugar contest and the Sugar Cookery contest are two of the most popular. Some of the shows are a 4-H/FA Livestock show, a flower show, an art show, a quilt, and a photography show.
On Friday, it is Farmer's Day and farmers throughout the Parish are celebrated. Awards are presented for the highest yield. People dress as farmers, the crops are blessed, a boat parade and firework displays are held, and there is a fais-do-do. In the boat parade people decorate their boats and throw candy, along the Bayou Teche. Some people even campaign for public office. A large turnout is always expected because of the fireworks display at the end.
On Saturday, there is the Children's Parade, a Cornation Ball and some interesting shows and activities. Children from schools all over Iberia parish participate in New Iberia's annual Sugarcane Festival Children's Parade. Other participants are children who were crowned kings and queens of various organizations, dance schools, and community organizations for children. The Children's Parade usually generates the biggest turnout. This parade is probably the best one of all. Also, the Cornation of Queen Sugar is held followed by the cornation ball where Queen Sugar and King Sucrose are crowned.
On Sunday, there is the Parade of Sugarcane Growers and their Royalty. The LA Sugarcane Festival and Fair Association honors its Sugarcane growers and the industry's royalty. Kings and queens from all across south Louisiana participate in this parade. It consists of many beautiful floats with lots of different kings and queens representing various parishes and festivals in Louisiana. It's always held on a Sunday, this parade is the culminating parade. It, too, brings out a multitude of spectators.
The annual Sugarcane Festival Fair is the biggest part of the
Festival. The fair lasts five days. A huge crowd is expected every
Some go to the fair everyday from the time it opens to the time it
Family day is usually the first day, the fourth day, and the fifth day.
A lot of money is made during this five day period. People around the
anticipate the arrival of this festive event.
The Gumbo Cook-Off is a huge contest, with two divisions, amateur and professional and two categories, seafood and non-seafood. Cooks from all over compete to see who has the best gumbo. There are many different kinds of gumbo. Prizes are given for winners in both division and categories. This year additional trophies were handed out in the categories of showmanship and booth decoration. The winners also get "bragging rights" to the World's Best Gumbo.
ShowmanshipNext year's Gumbo Cook- Off will be held in October 2005. Check back on this page for an exact date.
Professional Seafood Gumbo
Professional Non-Seafood Gumbo
Amateur Seafood Gumbo
Amateur Non-Seafood Gumbo
Gumbo- A thick, robust soup made with a roux(thick brown gravy made from flour and oil cooked slowly), seasonings, and meat. There are thousands of variations, such as shrimp or seafood gumbo, chicken and sausage gumbo, and okra gumbo. Just about anything can be include in the gumbo. Sometimes it is whatever is available. Gumbo is normally served over rice.
Back to BPMS Home Page
Questions or Comments? Send mail to* firstname.lastname@example.org