It’s Fat Tuesday . . . Shove Tuesday . . . Mardi Gras . . . Shrovetide . . . A Celebration By Many Names

Mar 4th

TA-DA! We made it to Tuesday! Yippee!  Monday was relatively painless, as Mondays go.  I hope it was the same for all of you!   Just making it through the first day of the work week is reason enough to celebrate, but I bet there’s more to enjoy today as well.   Let’s see what is on the schedule for the day!

Holy Experiment Day  – I can honestly tell you that I am writing about this one with mixed feelings, most of them to the negative.  From what I am reading this day is a “day to try something religious. It is a chance to try something, or ask for something, and measure the results.”  To me this is treating God like a vending machine, or a silly Fortune Telling game.  Talking to God isn’t something make fun of, or to take lightly.  He is GOD!  Every day is a good day to talk to God, to lay your troubles at His feet, thank Him for your blessings, ask that His will be done for a particular situation in life . . . but talking to Him isn’t a game where you plug in the prayer to see what prize pops out.  Keep in mind that sometimes when we talk to God and ask Him for something, the answer He comes up with may very well NOT be the one we want!  He will do what is best for us, no matter how much we may ask for something to the contrary. My best thought for Holy Experiment Day would be to perhaps celebrate Shrovetide if you never have, read your Bible if you don’t usually.  Maybe you could listen to sermon online, if you don’t normally.  Plan to attend a new church!  These are experiments that don’t put God to the test . . . that is never a good plan and honestly one that is destined to backfire – if we try to manipulate God it just isn’t something that will turn out very well for us!

Hug a GI Day – Our men and women in the armed forces deserve our thanks and appreciation – not just on this day, but every single day!  They put their lives on the line for our country – some give the ultimate price, and some sacrifice their health and well-being.  Giving a soldier or sailor a hug today, or at least giving them a heartfelt thank you, is a very small thing to do to show how much they are appreciated or loved.  


 

Shrovetide – This is a reprint of the post I did on 2/10/14.  I was on the wrong page of the calendar and did it too soon.  It is interesting, and today is the proper day, so here you go . . .Shrovetide is the three days preceding Ash Wednesday, known as Shrove Sunday, Shrove Monday and Shrove Tuesday.  Shrovetide precedes the beginning of Lent, a 40-day long Easter fast practiced among Catholics and Orthodox Christians. The word Lent is originally an old Teutonic word, which means spring season.  Lent is a time for both spiritual and physical purification and meditation in order to be prepared for the coming feast of Easter.  Traditionally during Lent people would not eat meat and all the things that “come from flesh”, like milk, eggs, cheese, butter and other dairy products.

Vegetables, mushrooms, fruit, honey, bread, vegetable oils (excluding olive oil), nuts, seeds, cereals and grits were permitted.  The Greek traditional fast also forbade fish and other types of seafood.  Slavic traditions permitted them.  Alcohol and other stimulants were also traditionally forbidden. 

In the old days, in country households the last of the meat, eggs and milk products were consumed at Shrovetide. It was the last chance for feasting before the strictness of the fasting period. Shrovetide is a northern European equivalent for the carnival season of southern Europe, which marks the beginning of Lent.  Many Shrovetide and carnival customs of different countries date back to pagan times, to feasts like the ancient Roman feast of Bacchus and the celebrating of the approaching spring, fertility and beginning of new life. Pagan customs were later blended in with the Christian Shrovetide celebration.  Shrove Tuesday,  which ends the Shrovetide was – and still is – a day of celebration with the tradition of eating greasy pancakes or waffles, a tradition common to many European Countries. 
 
The name Shrovetide comes from the word “shriving”, which means cleansing of all sins – or confessing one’s sins.  After Shrove Tuesday people would go home and have a hearty lunch.  Shrove Tuesday is also known by its French name – Mardi Gras – fatty Tuesday.  Many Shrove Tuesdays are observed in churches around the world with pancake dinners. Fat Tuesday in many places is a day of hedonistic partying, as people throw all inhibitions to the wind before they enter the time of Lent.  Even people without any intentions of observing Lent get into the party mood and go crazy on this day.   Ash Wednesday follows Shrove Tuesday and is the first day of the Lenten fast in the Western Church, and is a day of repentance and amendment. The name of the day signifies the old act of sprinkling ashes on oneself and wearing sackcloth as a means of repenting of one’s sins. Lent ends on Easter Sunday.
I was not raised observing Lent, but I do know that today people tend to choose something to give up – ideally it is something that they feel is a sacrifice and a reminder of all that Christ did for us by giving Himself as a sacrifice for our sins.  The church I used to attend encouraged us to consider observing Lent, and to use this time to really focus on what it means.  Since I had never done this before, we discussed it at home and we did make a decision to observe it.  We gave up evening television for the Lent season, and though to some that may not seem to be a big deal, in this TV oriented world that was a big deal to us and changed our entire routine. We turned it off at a set time every day, and instead had family time playing games, reading together, listening to a sermon online, and just plain talking.  Those nights became something we looked forward to, and less of a sacrifice as they were a blessing.  It is very common for people to give up coffee, soda, chocolate, or something else that is a big piece of their lives.  The most important thing though, is give something that will hurt to give, to remind you better of why it is done, and to teach us something about sacrifice in a very small way.

March Forth Day – The fourth day in March is the only day of the year and is expressed as an imperative sentence given as a command.  I never thought of it that way!  March Forth as a celebration was created by Deborah Shouse, who is a noted writer, speaker and creativity coach.  This unofficial holiday invites people to March Forth into their lives, try new things and to celebrate their accomplishments.   March Forth fine readers, and let me know what new things you find to try today!

Some information sites I found combine March Forth with National Grammar Day – I kept them separate because I wasn’t sure if they truly should have been connected or not.

National Grammar Day – Today we honor our language and its rules, which helps us to communicate clearly with each other.  If you are anything like me, and I know many of you are, improper grammar drives you nutty.  I spend quite a bit of time reading posts and emails, newspaper articles and ads, that just torture our written language.  It’s horrible!  I can’t even tell you how many times I have been tempted to print out someone’s email, correct it with red pen and return it to them!  Focus on your grammar, today and every day.  Pay attention to everything you read and see how many mistakes you find . . . then try not to make them yourself. 
 This Day In History

1789 – The Constitution of the United States of America goes into effect.      
1930 – Mrs. Charles Fahning of Buffalo N.Y. is recognized as the first woman to bowl a perfect 300 game.

Food Celebration of the Day

National Pound Cake Day – Pound cake has come a long way since its original formula: a pound each of butter, sugar, flour and eggs. Now, clever cooks add their own creative mix-ins.

Buttermilk Pound Cake
Green Tea Pound Cake
Blueberry Pound Cake
Sour Cream Pound Cake
Amanda’s Cheese Pound Cake
Pound Cake Cookies

This is a lot to celebrate, but we can do it!  I’ve just spent the last half hour re-checking my grammar! It would be pretty embarrassing if I messed that up today of all days!  I am ready to head off to work and think about how to celebrate Fat Tuesday!  How about you?  God Bless You and I’ll see you tomorrow.

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