I was born in New Orleans which is famous for jazz music, Po’ Boy sandwiches, seafood, bakeries and maybe most of all, Mardi Gras or Carnival as we sometimes called the pre-Lenten season.
There are parades for about two weeks before the beginning of Lent, which is on Ash Wednesday, climaxing on Fat Tuesday, the day before Ash Wednesday. I found some Mardi Grads pictures on the Internet:
Some adults dressed up for Mardi Gras but almost all children were dressed up in costumes. I always had hopes of wearing long, elaborate, hooped skirt dresses but I hopes were never realized. I was dressed up as an angel once or twice with my brother beside me wearing a devil costume as were many other brothers and sisters of the day. My brother and I were both clowns at least once or twice. I never liked clowns.
Floats were detailed often with moving parts like the huge head of a grotesque clown with eyes and a mouth that opened and shut. I never liked clowns. Sometimes beautiful ladies were on flowered floats waving to us. They were dressed in the long, elaborate, hooped skirt dresses I longed for. All the grownups on the floats dressed in costumes and matching masks. They were tossing beads and trinkets to the crowds who were yelling: “Hey mister throw me something!”
Nighttime parades were most mysterious, having a secrecy about them. Always there was music. Black man were carrying huge flaming torches danced lively as the torches somehow remained upright.
Mardi Gras is French for “Fat Tuesday”, reflecting the practice of the last night of eating rich, fatty foods before the ritual Lenten sacrifices and fasting of the Lenten season. Maybe one day I will find some of the old photos I remember seeing from Mardi Gras long ago…
Ash Wednesday derives its name from making a cross of ashes on the foreheads of participants to the words: “Remember that you are dust, and to dust you shall return.
Ash Wednesday takes place 46 days before Easter Sunday. Ash Wednesday opens Lent, a season of reflection and preparation before the celebrations of Easter. By observing the 40 days of Lent, Christians replicate Jesus Christ’s sacrifice and withdrawal into the desert for 40 days. Lent can be marked by fasting, both from food and festivities.
The last week of Lent is Holy Week, starting with Palm Sunday. Palm Sunday is the Sunday before Easter, when the triumphal entry of Jesus into Jerusalem is celebrated in many Christian churches by processions in which palms are carried.
Maundy Thursday is the Christian holy day falling on the Thursday before Easter. It commemorates the Washing of the Feet and Last Supper of Jesus Christ with the Apostles. It is the fifth day of Holy Week, preceded by Holy Wednesday and followed by Good Friday
Following the New Testament story, Jesus’ crucifixion is commemorated on Good Friday, and at the beginning of the next week the joyful celebration of Easter Sunday recalls the Resurrection of Christ.
Depending on the local custom, Lent ends either on the evening of Maundy Thursday,or at sundown on Holy Saturday, when the Easter Vigil is celebrated.
What do you think?
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Thank you! – julie
“May you live all the days of your life.” J. Swift
3 thoughts on “Lent”
Great summary of our Christian calendar & meaning…. and a walk down ‘growing up in New Orleans from Mardi Gras to Easter’ memory lane 🤗. Lenten days are always new and fresh with pause to me not having grown up in a liturgical church but an Easter is every day background…. which it IS, but the practicing of walking through the 40 days with Jesus, I find, is an interesting and contemplative exercise.
We are having a very different Lent this year because we are Ground Zero for the COVID-19 and all of our churches are closed for a month. Mass will be Live Streamed on Sunday and available on You Tube.I am hoping they will do the same for the Stations of the Cross. In a way it has made me more observant because I have to think about it more on my own. I am also praying more for my community and everyone effected by this virus.
I love Po’boy sandwiches. One of my best friends is also from NOLA.
Praying for good health to you and family!
Hi Roxanne My Friend ‘from Italy!’
Isn’t timing everything…a few weeks after we got back from Venice, Italy Venice had unprecedented flooding…what would have happened if we had been there then…Now, a few months after returning from Italy …what a mess with the corona virus…lots of thoughts & memories are swirling around in my head. What about you?
I appreciate what you said about being more observant with Lent because you are forced to do it on your own since the church being closed to avoid passing the virus. It can be so easy to just go to mass and cross that off our to-do list…I went to catholic school(K-12) & the stations were every Friday during Lent.
This time of the year, from about October – April usually, just us locals are here in Lake City, about 300 of us. The priest doesn’t come. We have a communion service in the sacristy rather than heat the church. It’s so cozy. The numbers have varied over the years to 2-3 of us to as many as 10 or so.
A friend in his 80’s has been in preparation for joining the catholic church for about a year. My girlfriend Erin & I are his sponsors. Last Sunday was his Rite of Sending in Gunnison (about 70 min away) then on to Montrose (another 70 min) for his Rite of Election with the bishop. Erin & I are cradle Catholics so this is all new to us. Wish I could put a picture with the bishop from last week on this but can’t figure out how….it was interesting but it seems to me Don should be long finished. I wasn’t asked for my opinion but it seems to me that joining the church shouldn’t be so long & drawn out & complicated. Don’s initiation was to be completed Easter Sunday – now with the virus scare – who knows.
I appreciation our connection – later – hugs (from afar) julie