Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Stagg Mardi Gras: Just Plain Madness

.....Well, today's Mardi Gras and Stagg tradition dictates that Ms. Berg's army of francophones wage war against the forces of boredom by bringing a taste of French Catholic culture to the school. Of course, there'll be eating, performing, and well, just about everything party-themed.
.....In a sense, students involved with the Mardi Gras celebration think that it's just a day for fun and it doesn't have a deeper meaning.
.....Not one to be a party pooper, but Mardi Gras isn't just centered on multi-colored beads and the highly coveted King Cake. The history of this day proves this.
.....Every French student can tell you that "Mardi Gras" means "Fat Tuesday," but only a few can explain why. Luckily for you, I'm part of that few. In predominantly Roman Catholic countries, Fat tuesday was the day families would cook all their meats, eggs, and dairy products before the fasting and abstaining done during Lent. Americancatholic.org describes it as the "last hurrah" before Ash Wednesday. Gradually, the party atmosphere crept in and slowly took over the day or so it seems.
.....Mardi Gras is also known as Shrove Tuesday. Shrove comes from the English verb "shrive", meaning to repent. Many Catholics go to church to receive the sacrament of reconciliation today since they know that the Lenten season is about perfecting your spiritual life. Confession is just another way to prepare themselves for the future repenting yet to be done after Ash Wednesday.
.....Sadly, most French students are clueless about Mardi Gras' true purpose. It's not just a random party held early in the year. Mardi Gras still and will always remain a Catholic practice. I find it mildly insulting when I witness my friends building art projects and practicing for plays, all the while unaware of the event after Mardi Gras: Ash Wednesday, the start of Lent. To them, once today's partying is over, that's it. No repenting, confessing, and growing in faith. Just partying.
.....Now don't get me wrong. I kind of enjoy all the fun, but that's balanced with the fact that I know tomorrow I'll be trying to understand my religion more, the meaning of my baptism and Holy Communion. I'm not trying to shove my beliefs down anyone's throats, but there should have been more done in explaining Mardi Gras' Church background. It has religious connotations as well, connotations that get drowned out by the whooping and hollering of the celebrants.

La Fin,

Jeremy Dela Cruz, l'etudiant triste

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