The city of Biloxi said goodbye to the Christmas season and hello to the Carnival Season Monday at the the Gulf Coast Carnival Association's third annual Twelfth Night celebration.
Twelfth Night may not be as widely celebrated as its bigger cousin of a holiday, Fat Tuesday. But, that's something that Gulf Coast Carnival Association Chairman Alwyn Luckey would like to change.
"We are pleased to add this additional public face to what is traditionally a more private time of carnival now," said Luckey.
This is the third year for the association to celebrate the 12th night after Christmas as the start of the carnival season. To symbolize that, the reigning royalty turns off the Christmas lights decorating the Biloxi Lighthouse. That's when the celebration really begins.
"We love it. It's tradition, and it's important for us," said Andi Oustalet, who has had a big part in putting the event together.
Oustalet said the night has a lot of significance in the history of Mardi Gras.
"It starts with Christmas day and actually it's the 12 days of Christmas and at the end of that, then we begin our season of Mardi Gras," Oustalet explained.
But the kick-off wasn't official until the switch was flipped, turning on the purple, green, and gold lights at the Biloxi Mardi Gras Museum. And there were plenty of revelers enjoying the carnival kick-off festivities. Many of them saw this as the perfect way to transition.
"It's absolutely wonderful. We need something to bring it all together, and this starts off and makes it a happy occasion," said Carolyn Catchot.
"Everybody knows now that it's time to get ready for Mardi Gras. Let's go," said Gavin Schmidt.
The Gulf Coast Carnival Association will roll its annual parade on Fat Tuesday. This year, that falls on February 17.