Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Mardi Gras

I never "got" Mardi Gras.

Well, I mean, I got the point of it - to enjoy all of those things you would be giving up for 40 days during Lent on the final day before Lent begins.

But to me, anyway, it always seemed quite silly.

Isn't the point of Lent to remind us that sacrifices, no matter how small, can help pave our way to holiness and ultimately heaven? Isn't the time of abstinence and reflection meant to serve as a vehicle to a deeper relationship with God? And shouldn't we be using that time during Lent as an example for how we should be striving to live every day of the year?

Therefore, doesn't overindulging in all types of activities and behaviors that defeat the purpose of a faith-filled life hinder all of those beautiful lessons found within Lent? Of course I'm not advocating that we should always live in the sacrifice and never in the celebration... but the celebration seems better fitting for the Resurrection than the pre-fasting. To me, anyway.


So, this Mardi Gras, I am spending in introspection. I will use this day to prepare for the journey ahead, which promises to be long and difficult. I will make all of my mental notes on how to best offer any inconvenience, frustration, annoyance, fear, or anxiety for JellyBelly and eventually for the Blogger for the Month of March. I will focus on the task at hand, rather than avoid it until it's upon me.

And I will be seeking out spiritual direction. This is something I have wanted to pursue for quite some time, but life always got in the way. No longer. I am so excited to embark on this journey... bring it on, Lent!








11 comments:

Kat said...

I agree, I never understood Mardi Gras either. I pray your Lent is fruitful and that you find the right spiritual director!

JellyBelly said...

Bring it on, indeed!

LifeHopes said...

I am so happy to pray for JB!!
I need Lent so bad this year. Reminds me of the phrase in that old song, "hurt so good."

sweet jane said...

You could think of it as "Shrove Tuesday" instead, which has more to do with repentence and confession before the lenten season begins. (Though I'm not sure why this is necessary to prepare for a season of repentance and fasting to prepare for the Easter season. Preparing to prepare?)

But there were more practical, morally sound reasons to indulge before lent - to use up the rich foods in the house that couldn't be enjoyed during lent. Meat, dairy, eggs were considered too rich and enjoyable for the season of fasting, and so they used up what was in the home on the last evening - typically with a big pancake dinner. And I'm sure no one could help but enjoy it. A lot. (I sure did last night!)

sweet jane said...

I've never heard of any morally sound reasons for getting bead necklaces for flashing your boobies though. That probably didn't come from Catholic tradition. ;)

Isaiah 55:8-9 said...

I never "did" Mardi Gras as a kid... our current parish has a party though. DH & I were thru all our sweet treats before yesterday anyway. Gotta get rid of the temptations, haha! :)

Hebrews 11:1 said...

Randomly, I can comment again from my phone!! Yay!! So, my comment is this--I never got too into Mardi Gras either...I think because there's no real event that's being celebrated--it seems almost you're celebrating excess, and that was just never all that exciting to me, excess for the sake of excess.

Stephanie Z said...

Aside from the practical reasons of clearing out the pantry of forbidden foods, perhaps as a "taste" of feasting and celebration, a reminder that there is a time and season for that as well as for fasting and penance?

callmemama said...

I have a totally different perspective, growing up in Cajun Country, but Mardi Gras in my hometown wasn't the debauchery that you hear about in New Orleans every year. Most of those drunk idiots are tourists, anyway. In our area, it's so much more family focused (we even have pet parades :) ), and I have such fond memories of chilly afternoons at the parades on my father's or grandfather's shoulders, waving to the floats passing by, then warming up afterward with a steaming bowl of gumbo or red beans and rice.
I think people that don't grow up with the Mardi Gras tradition have a hard time understanding what it's all about. It started for practical reasons - using up all the rich, fatty foods before Lent started - and then morphed into something more elaborate. The season opens on Epiphany and ends on Fat Tuesday, and I think fun-loving Cajuns were just eager to keep the Christmas merriment going as long as possible :).

Blessed and Broken said...

ditto to the posts about using up the rich foods.

Heidi said...

Ditto callmemama - I grew up in Cajun country, too, and we still celebrate Mardi Gras now that we're up in Maine. For us (now) it's not so much about using up the fatty perishables that we don't use during Lent, but it has become the only day out of the year that I make traditional Cajun dishes and desserts and drinks. So, I guess, for me it has become a celebration of my childhood/roots/family more than a pre-Lent feast. We don't go overboard - I don't want those leftovers tempting me for days and I'm too frugal to be able to throw them out during Lent! - but we do celebrate it. It is hard to explain - but it's not supposed to be all that you see in New Orleans and on the TV/movies. At least, that's not how it was in my hometown.....it was all about family.