The Catholic Celebration For All

Mardi Gras celebration
Mardi Gras celebration

It’s that time of year again.  The time of year where we see all of the colors, mask, parades, singing, dancing, firecrackers, masquerades, face paint, body paint, the beads, and the boobs.  Yes, it’s Mardi Gras.  And while you see thousands upon thousands flocking to New Orleans, and their favorite local watering spots to drink it up and celebrate the coming of the day, I have to question whether if many of them know exactly what they are celebrating.

Well if you ask a lot of people they say this day ranks up there with St. Patrick’s Day and Cinco De Mayo.  A day when many bars and restaurants have various drink specials and have a great big party.  But to hundreds of millions of people around the world, it’s much more than just a party.  But the term Mardi Gras means to them exactly how it’s translated, Fat Tuesday, which is the season, but more specifically the day before Ash Wednesday and Lent starts.  To the millions of Catholics who recognize the season of Lent, they know that it starts 40 days before Easter and as tradition goes Catholics used this time as a time of fasting and penance.  So because of the mass fasting going on they have the one day, the last day they can, for any last minute consumptions or celebrations, that will cease on Wednesday. 

But yet, nothing will cease for many of those who are out celebrating on the day.  Even to a lesser extend people recognize the season as Carnival, as Mardi Gras season is also known as.  But Carnival is also a translation that signals the coming of the Lent season.  Since meat is identified as the most prohibited item during Lent, its easy to believe that Carnival actually means “farewell to flesh”. 

Not for nothin’, but if you’re celebrating Mardi Gras, then should you recognize Lent as well?  Even though you may not be Catholic, if you’re going to have a drink or two Tuesday, what’s the big deal if you gave it up for the next 40 days?

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