Cowbellion-de-Rakin Society

In Mobile on New Year’s Eve 1830, a group of young men led by Michael Krafft stayed awake all night making noise with cowbells, hoes, and rakes. Leaving the Old Southern Hotel, the band came upon Partridge’s Hardware Store, scooped up hoes, rakes, cowbells, and gongs and proceeded to wander the streets making a noise. Arriving at the home of the Mayor, they were invited in for refreshments.

The group became the first parading mystic society with annual parades each New Year’s Eve. After a few years as the “Midnight Revelers”, elected to call themselves the “Cowbellion de Rakin Society”

In 1840, they staged the very first display of its kind in the United States when they rolled forth a parade with a title and subject. Six horse drawn flats (floats) carried out the theme, “Heathen Gods and Goddesses”.

Circa 1835 the Cowbellion de Rakin Society took their parade into New Orleans. Joseph Ellison and 5 other men from Mobile formed the New Orleans Cowbellions in 1850, and in 1857, that Cowbellion society, renamed as the Mistick Krewe of Comus, held its first parade on Mardi Gras day.

The Cowbellions dissolved in 1912, but re-formed in 1991.