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More of a visual learner? Read the transcript of this week's Galveston Unscripted podcast episode below:
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Mardi Gras is the traditional carnival of feasting and merrymaking that precedes the solemn season of Lent. One aspect of Mardi Gras that is often inquired about is the festive groups that man the floats and organize the parties. These elaborately dressed societies are called Krewes, dating back to the mid-nineteenth century in New Orleans, Mobile, and Galveston. The Krewes were formed as a homage to secret societies, and the many Krewes that exist today still hold societal rules and stipulations to be a part of a Krewe!
A form of Mardi gras has been celebrated in Galveston since the 1850s when city founders and early citizens would get together for Masquerade parties. Inspired by the events in Mobile and New Orleans, the citizens of Galveston followed suit by starting their own Krewes. They held elaborate coronations, exclusive masked balls, and large public celebrations and parades.
The Knights of Momus is the grandest and oldest crew supporting the social and civic efforts of Galveston's historic Mardi Gras. The Galveston Knights of Momus was established in 1871 by a group of wealthy Galvestonians. The organizational core tenants are frivolity and exuberance. They have been a part of the colorful Mardi Gras celebrations that have taken place in Galveston for over a century. They're stated to represent the spirit of Mardi Gras and the idea of camaraderie and fun.
Mardi Gras and Mardi Gras Krewes, including the Knights of Momus, continued celebrating through the early 20th century. Although the parties weren't as glamorous during World War I and the Great Depression, they continued until World War II. Mardi Gras on Galveston Island effectively stopped. And the krewes, including the Knights of Momus, essentially disbanded from the lack of celebration.
After four decades, the Knights of Momus were brought back to life in the 1980s. Galvestonians were determined to bring back the tradition of Mardi Gras. After being resurrected in 1985, the Momus Grand Night Parade was designed to become a spectacular event commemorating bringing Galveston's Mardi Gras back to life.
The new Knights of Momus were committed to recreating the original pageantry and excitement of the Mardi Gras celebrations in Galveston and ensuring that the spirit of the original Knights of Momus lives on. So much so that in 1985, it was arranged for Queen Elizabeth II's dressmaker to create gowns for the Momus duchesses.
The Knights of Momus is active today and is involved in many events and projects throughout the year. They host parades and balls in keeping with tradition. The Knights of Momus names young ladies from the community to be duchesses. Among the many Krewes involved in Galveston during the Mardi Gras celebration, they all work together to make Mardi Gras a success.
The Knights of Momus, a legendary organization, has been an integral part of Galveston's Mardi Gras celebrations through the ages. Attend the Mardi Gras celebration in Galveston, and you are sure to experience the spirit of the Knights of Momus. Just watch out for flying Beads. A story of festivity, camaraderie, and resurrection.
The spirit of the Knights of Moments lives strong on Galveston Island.