Posts Tagged ‘Mardi Gras’

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What am I noting today?

February 13, 2018

Mardi Gras 2018

Is is possible that spring is on the way?

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What am I eating?

February 9, 2016

640px-Boris_Kustodiev_-_Shrovetide_-_Google_Art_Project

Russian artist Boris Kustodiev’s Maslenitsa (1916)

I never thought about the origin of Lent, so I was interested to read this history on Wikipedia:

“It is probably impossible to know when the tradition of marking the start of Lent began. Ælfric of Eynsham’s “Ecclesiastical Institutes” of about A.D. 1000 includes: “In the week immediately before Lent everyone shall go to his confessor and confess his deeds and the confessor shall so shrive him as he then may hear by his deeds what he is to do [in the way of penance]”.

Some suggest that the Pancake Tuesday was originally a pagan holiday. Before the Christian era, the Slavs believed that the change of seasons was a struggle between Jarilo, the god of vegetation, fertility and springtime, and the evil spirits of cold and darkness. People believed that they had to help Jarilo fight against winter and bring in the spring. The most important part of Maslenitsa week (the whole celebration of the arrival of spring lasted one week) was making and eating pancakes. The hot, round pancakes symbolized the sun. The Slavs believed that by eating pancakes, they got the power, light and warmth of the sun. The first pancake was usually put on a window for the spirits of the ancestors. On the last day of Maslenitsa week some pancakes and other food were burnt in a bonfire as a sacrifice to the pagan gods.”

I read somewhere that housekeepers wanted to use up all of the food that would spoil during the period of Lent and that is how Mardi Gras or Fat Tuesday came to be.  In the time before refrigeration butter, oil and meat might go off during the the 40 days of Lent and so were used up in Mardi Gras feasting.

In the festivals listed on Wikipedia, pancakes, green peas, and general merry making  feature in many cultures on this day before Ash Wednesday.

mardi gras tattoo

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What is tattoo Tuesday about?

March 4, 2014

mg5It is Shrove Tuesday, Pancake Tuesday, Fat Tuesday, or Mardi Gras!

I suspect that this is another one of those holidays that has been taken over by the church and yet predates Christianity.  If you know its earlier origins, please let me know.

MG4This is a pancake race in Great Britain.

Pancakes are associated with the day preceding Lent because they were a way to use up rich foods such as eggs, milk, and sugar, before the fasting season of the 40 days of Lent. The liturgical fasting emphasized eating plainer food and refraining from food that would give pleasure: in many cultures, this means no meat, dairy products, or eggs.

In Canada, Australia, the United Kingdom, Ireland and New Zealand the day is also known as “Pancake Day” as it is a common custom to eat pancakes as a meal. 

In Newfoundland small tokens are frequently cooked in the pancakes. Children take delight in discovering the objects, which are intended to be divinatory. For example, the person who receives a coin will be wealthy; a nail that they will become or marry a carpenter.

Source:  Wikipedia

And, of course, there are tattoos:

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Celebrate the day with pancakes, jambalaya, a slice of King cake, and a hurricane!