If you don’t know today is Mardi Gras, then you probably don’t watch much fluff TV or cooking shows. And you probably aren’t a member of one of the liturgical churches (think Catholic, Anglican, Orthodox or Lutheran), either.
I didn’t grow up with Mardi Gras, but once it found me, I never let it go. I mean–food, music and lots of adult drinks? Yes, I think so!
I fell in love with New Orleans on my very first trip there, and the love affair has not only continued and deepened, it’s spread. I passed it on to my kids, who also embrace a deep and abiding adoration for the Crescent City. The Big Easy.
So it wasn’t a leap that we also embrace Mardi Gras. This is, technically, the last Tuesday of Epiphany, the day before the beginning of Lent. In the days when the Church oversaw the rhythm of daily life and dictated seasons, Epiphany, which always begins on January 6th and ends on Mardi Gras, was observed with the leftover frivolity of Christmas. Think lots of parties and food and music and drinking! It was the last hoorah before the sobriety and quiet of Lent, which is a season of repentance and reflection.
In our family, we invite friends over to enjoy chicken and sausage gumbo, King Cake and praline sauce over vanilla ice cream. We usually start the day with beignets, and the house is decorated with beads and masks, along with other goodies we’ve picked up from our frequent NOLA visits.
Music is a given. Think Pete Fountain, Harry Connick, Jr. and Fats Domino.
Tonight, we’ll definitely laissez les bons temps rouler–let the good times roll. And tomorrow, we’ll begin Lent ready for a quieter, more reflective time.
Happy Mardi Gras, y’all!