Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Mardi Gras, etc.

Last Saturday I attended a Mardi Gras parade. Mardi Gras was traditionally celebrated on Tuesday, the day before the season of Lent begins. The term, Mardi Gras, means fat Tuesday.

Catholics, and members of some other liturgical churches, fast during the season of Lent, which begins today. Traditionally, people who intended to fast during that season ate lots of meat, if they could get it, the day before Lent began because they wouldn't have it again for forty days. And they'd use up any foods, such as dairy products, with fat since those couldn't keep until they'd be allowed to eat them again.

Traditionally, Catholics also avoided eating meat on Fridays all year because Christ was crucified on a Friday.

As a kid when my Catholic friends avoided meat on Fridays I always wondered what eating meat had to do with the crucifixion.

Finally I learned that during the Middle Ages only the upper classes could eat meat on a regular basis. For everyone who could get it, meat was eaten at celebrations and parties. It was food for celebration and nobody would eat meat when there was a funeral or other sad event.

That's why people in those churches don't eat meat while observing the season before the Crucifixion of Christ.


Connie Arnold said...

Thanks for sharing the interesting information, Jan! We lived for a while in the New Orleans area and are very familiar with Mardi Gras. It was a great party before beginning the holy and subdued time of Lent.

Janet Ann Collins said...

Thanks, Connie.