March 5th Mardi Gras/Fat Tuesday

Today is Mardi Gras, in some places better known as Fat Tuesday and Shrove Day. The idea of it is simple, because the following day is Ash Wednesday where you have to give up something you really like for Lent. Fat Tuesday becomes your day to splurge and over do the things you will be giving up the next day. It is famous in New Orleans, along Bourbon Street, where the idea of throwing beads into the crowd from parade floats is the highlight for many.

How to celebrate – List the things you like to do most and figure out which you will be giving up. Throw a party. Wear a mask so no one knows who you are.

February 14th Valentine’s Day

Today is the day to show the one you love just how much you actually love them… or at least try to. The original Valentine’s Day appears to have been celebrated in the Roman Empire as a Feast of Lupercagia, the Roman God of Fertility.

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If you are lucky, your love will like perfume, jewelry, flowers or chocolate. If not, then you have your work cut out for you. Today being Ash Wednesday as well complicates the matter even more.

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On February 14th, 2009, 39,897 people all kissed for 10 seconds in Mexico City setting a world record. The thing I find a bit alarming about that is that it’s an uneven number! So, who was the odd person out kissing?

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Another interesting Valentine’s Day event was the St. Valentine’s Day massacre. It’s about a bunch of gangsters dressed up as police cutting down another group of gangsters in a hail of gunfire. I guess you could call it the kiss of death, but not very romantic.

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Well, at least the chocolate companies get rich today. 75% of all chocolate sold in a year is sold today. And the flower companies don’t do bad either. They too sell more roses today than during the rest of the year, also set at 75% of the yearly sales. That’s about 110 million roses sold for one day.

How to celebrate – I hope you find someway to tell your loved one that you love them. Fix your loved one a romantic dinner. Find time to spend with your loved one.

March 1st Ash Wednesday

Today is the 1st day of Lent, a special day in the Christian religion. It marks a time of prayer and fasting, primarily for Catholics but most other Christian based faith group also participate. It leads up to Easter, the resurrection of Jesus Christ.

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The symbol of the cross (Commemorating the death of Christ) is placed on the forehead to indicate that we, as people, will one day return to ash. “Ashes to ashes, dust to dust.” This marks the end of the physical body but not the soul. On Wednesday we are to go to a service, normally somber to remember the last supper, receive the ashes and proudly wear them to show our faith.

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As we mark this time we are also supposed to give up something we enjoy (but is probably a bad habit) for between 40 and 46 days. This should lead up to Easter when as with Jesus, we should be renewed in our faith. There is nothing said that after the 46 days we cannot go back to whatever it is we gave up, but it would probably be well to give up whatever it is we chose forever.

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The ashes are to be made up from the palms used for the prior season. They are to be burned, the ashes retained for use on Ash Wednesday. Palms were laid at Jesus’ feet as he entered the city of Jerusalem, the symbol here was that he was a kind and gentle King of men. He rode into the city on a donkey, not arriving in a chariot or making some grand entrance.

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These 40-46 days lead to the highs and lows of Jesus’ time here on earth. From the cheers to the jeers and back again to cheers. He came for mankind, died for mankind and returned for mankind to save us from ourselves. If you are a Christian this is a very important and sacred time.

How to celebrate – Go to church and get ashes as a symbol of your love for Christ. Be humble and thoughtful. Say special prayers for all those you know.

February 28th, 2017 Mardi Gras-Fat Tuesday

Fat Tuesday this year falls on February 28th, it varies every year pending on when Easter comes in the calendar. It is always the day before Ash Wednesday, when fasting is the tradition. It is the one day of the year where you can supposedly eat all you want of whatever you want. It is also known as Shrove Day and in predominantly German areas, such as Dutch Pennsylvania and well… Germany, it is know as Fastnacht Day.

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The most famous place to be for Mardi Gras is Bourbon Street in New Orleans and things always get a little wild there. They seem to take it beyond the eat whatever you want theme to do whatever you want.

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Somewhere along the line the idea of throwing beads to women was dreamed up. In theory, the idea is that men offer the women beads for doing something for the men. I think by now we all know what that “thing” is.

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Things get so wild in New Orleans that shop m owners, bar owners, and owners of any business on Bourbon Street, most of which have balconies that hang over the street held up by poles, put Vaseline all over the poles so people cannot climb up them. So apparently, Fat Tuesday has turned into Do Whatever You Want Tuesday. I can only assume that the costumes are done so no one knows who did what when Ash Wednesday comes.

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How to celebrate – Eat whatever you want today, and as much of it as you want to eat. Find a mask to cover up your face so no one knows who you are! Go to a pancake supper. Get beads. Get lots and lots of beads.