Tuesday, March 4, 2014
Pancakes and Ashes
Today, in a sense, is the kick off. I'm sure you have heard of Mardi Gras--which probably makes you think of New Orleans--or Carnival--which may make you think of Rio. The celebrations in both of these places and elsewhere are based on the same pre-Lenten observation called "Fat Tuesday" or "Shrove Tuesday." This is the day before Ash Wednesday; it is the last day to prepare yourself for the 40 days of fasting and penitence of lent. So, you "shrive" yourself to get ready for confession on Shrove Tuesday. Since Lent also includes fasting, people have traditionally feasted the day before, hence the name "Fat Tuesday," which translates as "Mardi Gras" in French. Interestingly, the word "carnival" derives from the Latin for "farewell to meat," another nod to the fasting period of Lent
In my parish, we have a pancake supper on Mardi Gras for the community. Lots of fun and an excuse to eat something I wouldn't normally have for dinner!
After getting your ashes, you are allowed to wash them off immediately or you may choose to wear them for the rest of the day as a sign of your Christian faith. Last year, I wore mine to play team trivia at a local restaurant. It definitely drew some attention!
I'll post some more about Lent as we go along. In the meantime, enjoy your Mardi Gras, and pass the syrup.