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Well, today’s post is not much about a saint but more of a Catholic tradition that, in many places, it has lost its Catholic touch.

Before I moved down to South Mississippi from up north, I never really thought much about Mardi Gras. So as you can imagine, I was shocked the first year when Mardi Gras came around the schools, banks, post office, and many workplaces were closed.

We didn’t have a dance nor music lesson. I am not kidding you that everything shut down for almost a week. I found it strange that weeks leading up to this day, there were parades and more parades! They start selling King Cakes in January (which makes celebrating 3 Kings easier), but they kept having those cakes until Mardi Gras.

So I decided to learn more about this Mardi Gras.

I learned the reason for this was that the season between Christmas and Lent was called Carnival. In Latin, carne val means farewell to the flesh or farewell to the meat. So the Church has this season as a prelude to lent where one would binge on all rich, fatty foods, meat, eggs, milk, lard, and cheese.

It starts on Epiphany until Ash Wednesday. As the Catholic faith spread, each country took this season and celebrated it differently, which brings us to the Mardi Gras way we celebrate it now.

What I have seen now living here for almost eight years is that Mardi Gras is just another pagan celebration again. All you have to do is attend one of those parades, and you will see it all over.

Which makes sense since the root of this tradition comes from Roman pagans. Roman would celebrate the Roman god of fertility, Lupercalia, in February. 

When Rome was Christianized, the Christian leaders took this pagan tradition and added faith into it instead of getting rid of it; I have come to see it has made a full circle back.

Yet, We can bring back what the earlier Christians wanted to do with Mardi Gras by celebrating it correctly and understanding its history.

The colors of Mardi Gras have roots in our Catholic faith.

Legend has it that the cakes were made in a circle to represent the circular routes that the Wise Men took to find Jesus, confuse King Herod, and foil his plans to kill the Christ Child.

In Mexico, on the feast of the 3 Kings, if you found the Baby Jesus, you were to host a party on Feb. 2nd in honor of the Baptism of Baby Jesus. In this area, whoever found the baby is expected to host the next King Cake party.

CRAFTS  & COLORING 

Here you will find some craft and coloring activities for the kids.  Click on the image to either download or get you to the site!

Books

Here is a list of great books to get just in time for Mardi Gras. Click on the image to take you to Amazon to read more about them.

FOOD

Here are some easy and fun recipes to have to celebrate Mardi Gras or Fat Tuesday or Pancake Tuesday! Click on image to take you to the recipes!

So I have come to embrace this holiday in South Mississippi to a certain amount. We only do our local community parade, which is family-friendly and straightforward. I do my best to teach my children all the Catholic connections in the secular world so that they can see what influence our faith has on our world!

I pray that you have a blessed Sunday!
With the Love of Christ,
Maria Cecilia

P.S. —– Updated: Join us this 2021 lent as your reset your body, mind, and soul with Whole40 Lent with St. Joseph!