Contact Us

Mardi Gras 101 — What is Twelfth Night?

Pretty Woman with Mardi Gras Mask

Before you can get to Mardi Gras, you’ll have to go through Twelfth Night, right?  But what is it exactly?

It’s a play by William Shakespeare, right? Well, yes, that’s true, too. But in South Louisiana (and in several parts of the Catholic world), the day holds a greater significance – it’s a feast day, and the official start of Mardi Gras season.

So why is it called Twelfth Night? Well, it’s quite simply 12 days after Christmas – January 6. When you sing about “The Twelve Days of Christmas,” that’s what you’re talking about – Christmas and the days that follow. (It’s also called “Little Christmas,” “Kings’ Day” or “The Epiphany.”)

Primarily, it’s a Christian feast day that celebrates when the Magi visited the baby Jesus, among other things. But as far as Mardi Gras goes, it’s the start of Carnival season. Between Jan. 6 and Mardi Gras Day, each of the Krewes hold their official balls.

You can think of Twelfth Night as the kick-off to several months of partying, because once Mardi Gras is done and Ash Wednesday rolls around, we’re in Lent – and that means a time of sacrifice.

Now, most of the Mardi Gras balls are invitation only. You have to belong to that specific group or krewe to participate – BUT, Twelfth Night is sort of a public Mardi Gras ball. Everyone’s invited, and each krewe’s court from the previous year gets one more chance to strut their stuff before a new court is chosen.

Here's a list of 2014's Mardi Gras Balls in Southwest Louisiana

Best of Cajun Radio

Recommended for You

Best of the Web

Leave a Comment

It appears that you already have an account created within our VIP network of sites on . To keep your personal information safe, we need to verify that it's really you. To activate your account, please confirm your password. When you have confirmed your password, you will be able to log in through Facebook on both sites.

Forgot your password?

*Please note that your prizes and activities will not be shared between programs within our VIP network.

It appears that you already have an account on this site associated with . To connect your existing account just click on the account activation button below. You will maintain your existing VIP profile. After you do this, you will be able to always log in to using your original account information.

*Please note that your prizes and activities will not be shared between programs within our VIP network.

Please fill out the information below to help us provide you a better experience.

(Forgot your password?)

Not a member? Sign up here

Sign up for Cajun Krewe Club quickly by connecting your Facebook account. It's just as secure and no password to remember!

Sign up to have exclusive Cajun Krewe Club contests, events, coupons, presales, and much more delivered to you for FREE.