Fat Tuesday & Lent

February 8, 2005 | 20 comments
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Mardi Gras is early this year. Now I am scrambling to find a King Cake in Madison. I lived in Louisiana for one year, and I was fascinated by the Christian calendar. So how many of you, besides Kristine, are looking forward to Lent?

20 Responses to Fat Tuesday & Lent

  1. john fowles on February 8, 2005 at 12:58 pm

    I’m not really looking forward to Lent (I won’t observe it), but I appreciate and enjoy the liturgical calendar in general. It has the capacity to heighten reverence and awareness of how religion can affect our daily lives.

  2. J. Scherer on February 8, 2005 at 1:19 pm

    With the majority of my family being catholic, I have continued the practice of sacrificing one thing that I enjoy during lent. It’s more fun when I sucker one of the local elders to abstain with me and then let my children tempt the elder whenever he is in our home. On a serious note, I find that giving up only one worldly pleasure is difficult over such an extended period of time. It makes one gain greater reverence for the fast which the savior made for fourty days and nights in the wilderness. It is all very spiritually rewarding.

  3. annegb on February 8, 2005 at 1:25 pm

    I joke a lot about Lent, I say “I’m giving up dieting and exercising for Lent,” or some other smart alecky thing.

    But I have an old and dear friend who is a Russian Orthodox monk. Lent is a time of celebration for him and spiritual growth. He loves God and his fellow man with a pure and simple love. I envy and respect him tremendously.

    To me, then, Lent is a time to celebrate diversity and the unique stamp of God’s love on all His children, no matter what their religion is.

  4. a random John on February 8, 2005 at 1:31 pm

    I am looking forward to passover. That’s when the Kosher Coke shows up in the local supermarkets. It tastes like Coke used to before they got evil and removed the sugar and put in corn syrup. Luckily, corn syrup isn’t kosher for passover. Look for the yellow cap on the two liter.

  5. Russell Arben Fox on February 8, 2005 at 1:39 pm

    On the menu for tonight: pizza, ice cream, and cake. You know, fat stuff. And we’ll wear our beads. (Yes, it’s not much of a Mardi Gras celebration, but we do it every year, the kids look forward to goodies in the middle of the week, and it’s fun.)

    On Wednesday, I’ll fast. There are, as there are every year (and every day, for that matter, but I won’t pass up this opportunity the calendar gives me), things I need to repent of, things I need to prepare, blessings I want to ask for, and most importantly, personal sacrifices I can make, and I want to start out my striving for such right. The Lenten period lends itself to thinking about what is happening beneath the surface, before the light breaks: seeds growing roots, butterflies transforming in their chrysalises, habits forming. In a small way, it gives a chance to focus extra hard on changing inwardly, so that maybe we can be ever so slighly born anew come Easter day.

  6. Bill on February 8, 2005 at 2:22 pm

    I was in the church where I practice the organ yesterday. They had already stripped the altar in preparation for the Ash Wednesday services tomorrow. For those of us who sing and play at other churches, Lent is a welcome period because the extra services mean some extra cash. But of course there are spiritual benefits too from all the opportunities for introspection and meditation. I’m looking forward to Good Friday when I’ll be singing the passion, and traditional choral masterpieces such as Allegri’s Miserere and Lotti’s Crucifixus, in the traditional noon to 3 pm service. This service, which includes three sermons, is the only one of the year in which the organ is not used.

  7. Shawn Bailey on February 8, 2005 at 2:59 pm

    Having lived in Northeastern Brazil for two years as an impressionable young man, the days leading up to Lent do not bring to mind anything holy. Much to the contrary, Carnival was a time in which one hoped to avoid being caught on a public bus taken over by vandals, seeing far too much flesh (seeing some was inevitable year round), being hit with urine-filled water baloons, or (worst of all) having recent converts return to extreme carnality they had foresaken only weeks before.

  8. Rosalynde Welch on February 8, 2005 at 3:14 pm

    So what’s a girl to do when most of her pleasures come from obligation? Even blogging, now, once a pleasure, is now a (happy) obligation. Same with reading: I enjoy it, but I also feel it a quasi-moral obligation, to set the example for my children and feed the mind, etc etc. I’m really not sure: do I have any pleasures in my life that involve no obligation to others, that would disadvantage nobody if I were to forego them? I may not, really and truly.

    Well, sleep remains, I suppose. Perhaps a sleep-fast, rising an hour earlier to study the scriptures?

  9. Steve Evans on February 8, 2005 at 3:21 pm

    “So what’s a girl to do when most of her pleasures come from obligation?”

    Yikes! I dunno how it works in your marriage, Ros., but I’ve got a different dynamic going on.

    Maybe for lent you could limit yourself to five syllable words? :)

  10. Rosalynde Welch on February 8, 2005 at 3:41 pm

    LOL, Steve! Well, I don’t know about you, but *I’ve* internalized the doctrine that that particular kind of pleasure is “an essential gospel principle”! (And if you don’t believe me, see here: http://www.timesandseasons.org/index.php?p=1376) (And how *do* I hide a link in a comment?)

    And, you know, I just couldn’t believe in a God who required me to abstain from polysyllabics. Polygamy, blacks and the priesthood, the Proclamation–I can take it all; but that, THAT would be going too far.

  11. Steve Evans on February 8, 2005 at 4:14 pm

    Rosalynde, you hide a link in comments by using the “a href=” tag.

    You should read “The Polysyllabic Spree” in honor of your last comment. It actually has little to do with polysyllabic worship of deity, but it’s got a great title.

  12. Rosalynde Welch on February 8, 2005 at 5:37 pm

    A propos of this thread, my 3-year-old came home from her Presbyterian preschool today wearing a Mardi Gras mask, and proceeded to explain to me that today was Fat Tuesday, and that she was going to give up her “movie games” (PBSkids.org) for Lent until Easter. I was pretty impressed at how well her teacher had conveyed the ideas, until just now Elena came up to me, asked if she could “give up” her movie games for Lent, and then dissolved into tears when I told her that “give up” means “not do it.” Hard lesson to learn, especially for a three-year-old with her movie games.

  13. Steve Evans on February 8, 2005 at 5:56 pm

    You should offer your kids some beads if they poop as instructed.

  14. MDS on February 8, 2005 at 7:27 pm

    Russell,

    I’d be interested in more details of the Mormon Lenten season looks like at your house.

  15. Ann on February 8, 2005 at 8:45 pm

    I live in SE Louisiana, and had the day off today. I have not partaken of the big parades on Fat Tuesday, though I recently received instruction on how to get the good beads for Zulu (stay downriver from Jackson Ave.) and Rex (move upriver of Jackson Ave.) Maybe next year I’ll get up early and head in. Zulu rolls at 8:30, so I’d need to be on the road by 6:00 at the latest. I think as long as I stay out of the Quarter it would be pretty fun.

    All the little towns here have parades, and I hear that deep in Cajun country the parades consist of people driving around picking up stuff for the party, and then using said stuff to make a feast for all. Stone soup, except they make gumbo.

    Our town’s parades are mostly on Sundays (except for the boat parades), but the biggest (and last) parade was last Friday night. It was a lot of fun. Little boy got a lot of loot. We’re going to send some of the beads to his cousins. He had a wagon parade at his school last week, and they threw a lot of beads to the older kids dressed in their costumes of Mardi Gras colored t-shirts.

    DH got the baby TWICE during King Cake season. I only got it once – but then, it was the only king cake I had! Here is a fun blog entry I found about king cakes and “getting the baby.”

    Rob Walker, a real writer for a number of magazines, wrote an excellent article about Carnival in his

  16. Gordon Smith on February 8, 2005 at 10:09 pm

    We found a King Cake!!! We arrived at Scott’s Pastry at 5:32. They were scheduled to close at 5:30, but they let us in and we bought a beautiful King Cake. They promised that there was a baby, and now I have eaten too many pieces trying to find it. My daughter is tired of the suspense and is now operating on on the cake. It’s sad to see a King Cake treated like that!

  17. Jonathan Green on February 9, 2005 at 10:37 pm

    Please, someone, clue me in. Someone brought a King Cake to office, I grabbed a piece, there was a plastic baby in it. Is that good, or does it mean something horribly embarrassing?

  18. Christa on February 10, 2005 at 12:18 am

    I should know more about this, having lived in southwest Louisiana for the past 10 years… Basically, the King Cake has something to do with the three kings who searched for the Christ child. Hence plastic baby inside. Logical? Well, what in Lousiana? ;-)
    Tradition here holds that whoever gets the piece with the baby brings the next cake. Assuming there will be another king cake eating time. Anyways, my two cents.

  19. Jim F. on February 10, 2005 at 3:04 am

    The King Cake is the Louisiana extension of the French tradition of the galette de roi, in which a porcelain or plaster, or now, plastic, figurine from the Christmas story is baked. Here‘s one reasonable account of the custom. I’ll bet there are at least ten others.