Lent starts tomorrow … so today is Mardi Gras. Laissez les bon temps rouler!
I spent a few years in Louisiana, and I picked up an appreciation for this grand time of the year. And though the celebration began in January, the day after epiphany, today (February 25, 2020) is the final day – Fat Tuesday. I remember parades, parties, and people everywhere. I enjoyed the King Cakes … though never did I find the toy baby within (the traditional symbol of luck to the one who got it … and even more directly, a connection to Jesus is king). Didn’t collect beads, visit New Orleans during the festival, nor dress up in purple, green and gold. Let’s just say I’ll add these to my bucket list and move on.
There is lots to the over 300 year tradition. And though most look to it as a time party, to let the good times roll, it really has a lot of faith connections. It’s history is in the Catholic Church. It is the day before Lent begins, thus the term fat … enjoying some last rich food before the period of Lent, where sacrifice and fasting takes place in preparation for Easter.
The King Cake connects to the gift of the wise men to the King.
The colors have come to stand for justice (purple), power (gold), and faith (green). According to tradition, these colors are connected to the colors of the royal Russian family that visited and threw beads into the crowd. Beads were thrown to those who exhibited these traits … though today, it’s often thrown for different things exhibited.
Another parade “throws” are Zulu coconuts – these golden nuggets are the round, painted, glittery orbs of shaved and gutted coconuts. “Throws” is in quotations because they’ve stopped throwing them as much to the fact that now they just hand them out to attendees. It means less injuries and even lesser lawsuits – though the ‘Coconut Law’ does offer some protection.
Mardi Gras doesn’t always get a family friendly seal of approval . Many take advantage of letting the good time roll and go to excess. Until the Krewes helped taper the debauchery, there was even talk of eliminating the carnival celebration. But I refuse to let a few take away everything that can be enjoyed about this holiday. I will also use it
School is out (at least in that part of the country). Parishes throw parades. Candy is “thrown.” People celebrate. And life is fun.
And if it can be used to talk about faith, preparation for Easter, and the true King of kings … then Laissez les bon temps rouler!