So today is Mardi Gras! Interestingly when I was a youngster and one who would likely have run off to a far away place to join in the celebration, I didn’t even know what that was or meant. I grew up in a church that celebrated Lent, we had services on Wednesday nights and such, but all of that other part, was not in our vocabulary. Perhaps I really did grow up under a rock, who knows.
I just did some digging about the history and meaning of Mardi Gras or Fat Tuesday or Shrove Tuesday. I guess it wasn’t that I grew up under a rock, it is because I grew up Protestant in South Dakota that I don’t have childhood memories of this day. Of course only having two channels on a black and white television didn’t help matters much.
I learned that it began in the Middle Ages in Europe and may have been related to a pagan holiday regarding the coming of spring. As I read yesterday in a note from my mentor, Pastor Keith, it all has to do with the spring equinox and the full moon, so I get how the pagan side comes into play especially in the Middle Ages.
More of the Christian historical part, which any of you can dig into more on the web if you so desire, has to do with confession (Shrove–shriving, confessing) before beginning the season of Lent. Lent was traditionally about fasting and cleansing oneself spiritually. The day before Ash Wednesday became known as Fat Tuesday because people would clear all the food items from their home that were “rich” and wouldn’t hold for 40 days. Things like cream and eggs and butter and such. Thus the practice of eating pancakes came into play because all of those foods can be used up in pancakes. There was also an interesting piece about how the pancake is shaped like the sun and so the connection to spring and the pagan origins.
At any rate, in my church we are not taught to fast and deprive ourselves at this time. Instead we are taught to be more giving, more aware of those around us in need and more willing to do the things that Jesus did. Our church in particular will be spending the five Wednesdays after tomorrow looking at the things that Jesus did while he was on earth. Especially we will focus on the things he did for others. He fed–multitudes with very little, healed–even from death, calmed the storms–literally and internally, and then we will throw in a little story where he cleaned out the temple and tipped over some tables, that is going to be the fun one to relate to in our culture. Finally we will end with how he forgave–even while hanging on the cross.
Hopefully this will all work out as well as I am planning. In the meantime, I think I just might make some pancakes for supper. Too bad I don’t have any left over mashed potatoes, those would be great. Better yet would be some mashed pumpkin to use in pancakes. Hey, maybe I can pull out some of my frozen pumpkin and see how that turns out. Hmmm maybe with some pork chops… I will share tomorrow.
For my picture today, I am sharing with you the two banners we now have hanging in the back of our church. I think they are beautiful and well worth the effort of choosing the picture and the verses. We had a woman from our area quilt them for us. We didn’t know exactly what the finished product would look like, but boy was it a zillion times better than anything I could have imagined.
So, what did you do on Fat Tuesday? What will you be giving up for Lent, or what project will you be adding to give to others during these 40 days. I haven’t decided on mine quite yet. Oh, if you want to see some of my projects check out, lucindacrafts and for my garden updates see, lucindagardens all at wordpress. Take Care for now!!