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Today’s post delves into a Catholic tradition more than focusing on a specific saint.

This tradition, while once deeply rooted in Catholicism, has in many places lost its original religious essence.

Upon relocating from the northern regions to South Mississippi, I hadn’t given much thought to Mardi Gras. The first year’s surprise was palpable when schools, banks, post offices, and numerous workplaces shut down for almost a week during Mardi Gras. No dance or music lessons took place, and everything seemed to come to a standstill.

In the weeks leading up to the event, there were parades galore. King Cakes started selling in January, continuing until Mardi Gras, making the celebration of the Three Kings easier.

Intrigued by the festivities, I decided to delve deeper into the origins and significance of Mardi Gras.

I discovered that the period between Christmas and Lent is known as Carnival, derived from the Latin “carne val,” meaning farewell to the flesh or meat.

This season serves as a prelude to Lent, encouraging indulgence in rich, fatty foods such as meat, eggs, milk, lard, and cheese. Carnival spans from Epiphany to Ash Wednesday, and as Catholicism spread globally, each country adapted its celebration, leading to the contemporary Mardi Gras festivities.

However, after living here for almost eight years, I’ve observed that Mardi Gras has taken on a more pagan character.

Attending one of the parades reveals the influence of Roman pagan celebrations, particularly Lupercalia, the Roman god of fertility, which was commemorated in February.

When Rome embraced Christianity, leaders incorporated this pagan tradition into the Christian calendar rather than discarding it. Over time, Mardi Gras seems to have come full circle, returning to its pagan roots.

Nevertheless, there is an opportunity to restore the original intent of Mardi Gras as envisioned by earlier Christians.

By celebrating it in a manner that aligns with its historical roots and understanding its significance, we can reconnect with the rich traditions embedded in our Catholic faith.

The colors of Mardi Gras, for instance, have meaningful ties to our Catholic heritage.

 

According to legend, King Cakes are crafted in a circular shape to symbolize the intricate paths taken by the Wise Men in their quest to locate Jesus, outsmart King Herod, and thwart his sinister plot to harm the Christ Child.

In Mexico, during the celebration of the Feast of the Three Kings, discovering the figurine of Baby Jesus within the King Cake carries a special tradition.

The fortunate individual who uncovers the Baby Jesus is entrusted with hosting a festive gathering on February 2nd, commemorating the Baptism of Baby Jesus.

In this particular locality, the person who finds the tiny figure is expected to take the reins and organize the subsequent King Cake party.

CRAFTS  & COLORING 

Explore a variety of craft and coloring activities designed for kids. Simply click on the image to download the materials or be directed to the corresponding website!

Books

Discover a curated selection of fantastic books just in time for Mardi Gras. Click on the image to be redirected to Amazon, where you can explore more details about each title.

FOOD

Indulge in the festive spirit of Mardi Gras, Fat Tuesday, or Pancake Tuesday with these easy and enjoyable recipes. Click on the image to access the mouthwatering recipes and enhance your celebration!

I’ve grown to appreciate this holiday in South Mississippi to a certain extent. Our participation is limited to the local community parade, a family-friendly and uncomplicated affair.

I strive to impart to my children the Catholic connections within the secular celebration,helping them recognize the influence of our faith on the world around us.

Wishing you a blessed Sunday!
With the Love of Christ,
Maria Cecilia