In Louisiana, tomorrow is "Mardi Gras" or "Fat Tuesday". It is also called "Shrove Day (Tuesday)" in some places. It is usually the day before "Ash Wednesday" or the Tuesday before the Lent season begins. I am not Catholic, nor do I follow the dictates of a religion that holds these days in honor, but I have often thought about what they mean and how they fit into life as a Christian.
I was researching these days and I found out that Shrove Tuesday was instituted in the Middle Ages so that food would not go to waste during the 40 (46, Sundays don't count) days of Lent. They would have big feasts to eat all the meat, fat, eggs, milk, and fish which were restricted during Lent. In some cultures, it is also call "Pancake Day" where they would use up the milk and eggs in pancakes, which to me seems like a good thing.
Today, it has become a time to celebrate, have huge parties, and parades, it is one last big fling before giving up something for Lent. Not that there is anything wrong with a party, a parade, or celebrations, but these do get out of hand during this time. The people who instituted this day did it with good intentions, and many people who participate in the festivities today also have good intentions.
Mardi Gras is the Tuesday before Lent as I stated before. Lent is the 40 (46) day period before Easter in which people who follow the tradition give up something for the time in a symbolic fast. During this time they do not eat meat on Fridays, they are to pray, give penance, sacrifice, and do good works. This time begins on Ash Wednesday and last until the Saturday before Easter.
"Ash Wednesday comes from the ancient Jewish tradition of penance and fasting. The practice includes the wearing of ashes on the head. The ashes symbolize the dust from which God made us. As the priest applies the ashes to a person's forehead, he speaks the words: "Remember that you are dust, and to dust you shall return." from Catholic.orgNow, as I said I have been thinking about how these days and activities fit into the christian life and the answer is that we should live our lives this way everyday. Yes, setting apart days in remembrance are important and needful, yet as a christian we should be repentant, sacrificial, pray, and do good everyday. It is not an easy task and I know I didn't say fasting, because we can't fast everyday, but you know... if we have things in our lives that harm us, those around us, and our relationship with God then we should give them up! Here are some verses that talk about these things....
"But go and learn what this means: ‘I desire mercy and not sacrifice.’ For I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners, to ance.” Matthew 9:13
"Those are just a few of the verses I could have shared. These of course all have special meaning for me. I wish I could live these verses out daily. I do try. I fail! I pray that God will teach, guide, strengthen, and help me as I try to live this way. I want to glorify Him in all that I do, write, and say! It is my prayer that these words I wrote make sense (I am not ever sure they do except to me) and that you have received good from them. Thanks for reading. God Bless you!