Tuesday, February 12, 2013
Today is Mardi Gras or Fat Tuesday. When I hear that name I can't help but think that I have Fat Mondays and Fat Wednesdays and Fat Everyday, not just Tuesday. But, of course, Mardi Gras doesn't refer to personal size.
French for “Fat Tuesday,” it's the day before Ash Wednesday. The French name may have come from the custom of parading a fat ox through the streets as a reminder that no meat was to be eaten during Lent. It may also derive from the fact that people ate all the “fat” foods such as butter, cream, milk, cheese, eggs and meat on this day so they would not go to waste. This custom is the origin of the name Pancake Tuesday, since pancakes conveniently use up the soon-to-be-forbidden foods. Another name for the day is Shrove Tuesday, recalling the custom of going to Confession (being forgiven or shrove of one’s sins) on this day.
With Mardi Gras, I'm starting what I plan to be a daily Lenten series of meditations and reflections. While they have been in the works for several weeks, the journey takes on a greater significance for me now that we have learned Pope Benedict is resigning and Catholics will have a new pope by Easter. So part of these reflections will be about that process, but I also hope you will join me as I explore customs, traditions, saints, prayers and our pilgrimage to the Holy over the next six weeks.
With that, go eat some pancakes swimming in butter and I'll see you tomorrow.