Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Fat Tuesday

I first learned about Fat Tuesday in college. I knew about Lent before then, Ash Wednesday. I knew about mourning and sacrifice but until college I didn't know about the celebration. Fat Tuesday was a joy and revelation to me. Staying up for midnight chocolate chip pancakes and a party with friends. The celebration at Mary Baldwin College was a mild introduction to Mardi Gras. I've never made it to the REAL Mardi Gras. The closest I've been is the daytime parade in Galveston, TX.

Truly, I have no desire to attend the real Mardi Gras. The Fat Tuesday that I celebrate with my family is enough. I love fixing chocolate chip pancakes or gumbo or muffaletta or cheesecake. I love marking time in a way that calls for celebration and sharing. Our tradition isn't rigid. Over the years, we've had midnight pancakes at IHOP and we've had gumbo at home. Sometimes we share the day with friends. Other years our celebration is family only. Whatever the circumstances we mark the day and know that it is a part of our time and way of being with each other.

This year we've had a series of celebrations. Birthday, Valentine's Day, Birthday and Fat Tuesday. I'll admit that it was tempting to drop the Fat Tuesday celebration. It would have been easier to make the mac and cheese and pretend today was just ANY Tuesday. I am so glad that we made the extra effort. Pulling out the hats and beads, setting the table in gold, green and purple, making gumbo and muffaletta, laughing and sharing memories. Talking about what Lent means and what we want this season of dedication to look like for our family this year.

I love Fat Tuesday for it's sense of celebration. Whenever something serious begins it's a great idea to hold a big party. As a society we recognize the importance of mixing celebraion with significance. Weddings, birthdays, graduations, confirmations...so often we celebrate before beginning the next big thing. Fat Tuesday is an example of celebration and commitment at work. This evening we've celebrated!

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