Happy Mardi Gras ya’ll!
This has been my hardest Carnival Season to be away from New Orleans. I haven’t lived in New Orleans in over 20 years, but so many family and friends returned home to celebrate, and I wanted to be there too. My children have fully embraced their Louisiana heritage and were almost as disappointed as I was. Because they couldn’t share in the revelry in New Orleans, they decided to share some of the holiday with their CC classes.
I was really proud of my babies! They told about the history and traditions of Mardi Gras and then shared one of our homemade King Cakes. After the presentation, however, it made me sad to realize how many people outside of New Orleans really don’t know anything about the true meaning. Many of the moms commented they had no idea it had Christian roots and thought it was merely a chance for drunken debauchery.
Many outside of Louisiana don’t realize it is a holiday that traces its origins back to medieval Europe and has been in America since 1699. Many don’t realize Carnival Season begins with the celebration of the three Kings, or Magi, that visited Jesus after his birth on the Twelfth Night. Or that is a family affair with parades and marching bands, tailgating and dancing, toys and coveted throws, parties, King Cake and lots of good food. All of that comes to an end on Mardi Gras Day. A legal holiday in Louisiana since the 1800’s.
The kids and I talked a lot about what Mardi Gras meant to me growing up with people these last couple of weeks. Not just the fun, but also the feeling that we were preparing ourselves for Lent. “What are you giving up for Lent?”, was a common question during Carnival Season. I haven’t observed Lent myself in a few years, but all this explaining tugged on my heart. Carnival addresses the carnal, the flesh, that Christians seek to subdue during Lent in honor of our Savior’s sacrifice.
I think it has particularly resonated with me this year because I’ve been struggling greatly with my flesh lately. Anger, resentment, doubt, confusion, and lack of discipline have been thorns in my side that desperately need to be addressed. I plan to observe Lent this season and it’s time of refinement. I pray God will mold me as I seek to sacrifice, fast, and pray with a more specific focus. I hope you all had a Happy Mardi Gras. Here’s to Lent and a shinier you!
“But He knows the way I take; When He has tried me, I shall come forth as gold.” Job 23:10