Skip to content

Fat Tuesday - Mardi Gras Meant to Be More than a Party

By Fr. Randy Sly
3/5/2019 (8 months ago)
Catholic Online (https://www.catholic.org)

Traditions arose for Fat Tuesday where people would empty their pantries of many items restricted during Lent

One could call this celebration the last gasp of Ordinary time as the Church anticipates the penitential Season of the forty days of Lent. Rich foods are consumed as pilgrims prepare for times of fasting, abstinence, confession and penance. Ironically, carnival comes from the Latin "carne vale" which means "farewell to meat" or "farewell to flesh" indicating the end to certain pleasures has come. For today's Catholics, Fat Tuesday needs to be viewed as a time of anticipation not debauchery. While we can eat pancakes, which has been a tradition, along with sneaking a few extra strips of bacon or links of sausage, this day is a day of farewell. We say goodbye to our old norm and preparing our hearts for a Holy Lent.

Some have tried to argue that this term meant that people should discard their moral faith commitments and for the night and just 'let anything happen.' This simply doesn't fit the true nature of the day.

Some have tried to argue that this term meant that people should discard their moral faith commitments and for the night and just "let anything happen." This simply doesn't fit the true nature of the day.

Highlights

By Fr. Randy Sly
Catholic Online (https://www.catholic.org)
3/5/2019 (8 months ago)

Published in Lent / Easter

Keywords: Mardi Gras, Fat Tuesday, Feast, Fast, New Orleans, holiness, celebration, Lent, Fr Randy Sly


WASHINGTON, DC (Catholic Online) - This day is Mardi Gras, or "Fat Tuesday." Usually we think of New Orleans or Rio de Janeiro but there are many places around the world where this day is an excuse for incredible debauchery and depravity.

One could call this the last gasp of Ordinary time as the Church anticipates the Season of Lent. Rich foods are consumed as pilgrims prepare for times of fasting, abstinence, confession and penance.

Traditions grew up around Fat Tuesday, where people would empty their pantries of many items restricted during Lent

One of the terms often used with Mardi Gras is the word "carnival." We picture huge public celebrations or parades. Anyone who visits one of the big carnivals held on this day usually bring back stories of self-indulgence and hedonism that make most people blush.

Ironically, carnival comes from the Latin "carne vale" which means "farewell to meat" or "farewell to flesh" indicating the end to certain pleasures has come. Some have tried to argue that this term meant that people should discard their current lives for the night and just "let anything happen." This simply doesn't fit the true nature of the day.

In the Anglican world and other denominations such as Methodist or Lutheran, the commonly used term for the today is "Shrove Tuesday." In early Anglican practice, Lent was preceded by Shrovetide the week before Lent. The faithful were called to go to confession during that time in preparation for the Lenten observance.

The Catholic Encyclopedia explanation of Shrovetide includes a sentence from the Anglo-Saxon "Ecclesiastical Institutes." Translated from Theodulphus by Abbot Aelfric about A.D. 1000, it reads, "In the week immediately before Lent everyone shall go to his confessor and confess his deeds and the confessor shall so shrive him as he then may hear by his deeds what he is to do [in the way of penance]."

For today's Catholics, Fat Tuesday needs to be viewed as a time of anticipation not debauchery. While we can eat pancakes, which has been a tradition, along with sneaking a few extra strips of bacon or links of sausage, today is a day of farewell. We say goodbye to our old norm and preparing our hearts for a Holy Lent.

Farewell should also be considered a more permanent state. Hopefully, we will be changed when we exit at Easter. Self-examination, abstinence and confession, when combined with the additions of formative spiritual disciplines, should result in a life more holy than it was.

The question we should ask ourselves is this: Are we more formed in the image of Christ after Lent than we were before? Do we have our hearts and minds looking more at heaven and less at our material lives? Our prayer life should be richer and more disciplined and our relationships strengthened, both with God and man.

It is a day of goodbyes. Looking toward the future, some things left behind should not be welcomed again. They lead us to sin, to making wrong choices, to bondage. However, the ascetical practices voluntarily embraced by believers during lent, bring freedom. That is the goal of Lent. Conversion is not simply about leaving things behind but about being made new in Jesus Christ. That is real cause for celebration and joy.
------

Fr Randy Sly is the Chaplain of the ecumenical movement, Common Good. He is  a former Archbishop of the Charismatic Episcopal Church. He laid aside that ministry to enter into full communion with the Catholic Church a lifelong search for the fullness of Christian truth. He participated in Church history when he became one of the first former Anglicans ordained as a Catholic priest for the  Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter established by the Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI, through the Apostolic Constitution "Anglicanorum Coetibus
."

---


'Help Give every Student and Teacher FREE resources for a world-class Moral Catholic Education'


Copyright 2019 - Distributed by THE CALIFORNIA NETWORK


Comments



More Lent & Easter

'So it is written that the Christ would suffer and on the third day rise from the dead'

Luke 24:46

Lent Event

Importance

Ash Wednesday

March 6, 2019

Image of Ash Wednesday

Palm Sunday

April 14, 2019

Image of Palm Sunday

Holy Week

April 14-20, 2019

Image of Holy Week

Holy Thursday

April 18, 2019

Image of Holy Thursday

Good Friday

April 19, 2019

Image of Good Friday

Easter Sunday

April 21, 2019

Image of Easter Sunday

Stations of the Cross

Every Friday

Image of Stations of the Cross

Buy yours Today!

Fasting and Abstinence

Every Friday

Image of Fasting and Abstinence

Image of What did you give up for Lent?

Ascension of Our Lord

Thursday, May 30, 2019

Image of Ascension of Our Lord

Pentecost

Sunday, June 9, 2019

Image of Pentecost

Image of Lent FAQ's

Mardi Gras

Tuesday, March 5, 2019

Image of Mardi Gras

Image of Transformed by Easter

Image of Appearances

Image of Easter Gifts

Easter / Lent News

What do we do AFTER Lent?

Image of Easter Sunday begins the liturgical season of Easter, which continues through the celebration of the Ascension to Pentecost Sunday.

Chocolate bunnies and marshmallow Peeps have graced the shelves of U.S. stores for weeks in anticipation of Easter, but now that the actual ... continue reading


Easter: We Have Been Raised with Christ. Easter is More Than a Day; it is a Way Watch

Image of The Resurrection of Jesus Christ

Easter is more than a Day, it is a Way; A Way of living our lives differently now in Him. We are invited to do that by living them in His ... continue reading



The surprising origins of the Easter Bunny -- it's not what you think! Watch

Image of Rejoice! The beloved Easter Bunny has very Christian origins.

The Easter Bunny is a symbol of Easter that is popular in western culture, especially with children. According to folklore, the Easter ... continue reading


Are Easter eggs pagan? Watch

Image of Are Easter eggs a pagan symbol?

Easter eggs are a traditional part of modern Easter celebrations, but their origins are shrouded in history, raising questions about their ... continue reading


5 Beautiful scriptures to remind you what Easter is all about Watch

Image of Remember the reason we celebrate Easter.

This Easter, make sure to take a moment with your family to thank Jesus for his amazing sacrifice. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Turn ... continue reading


FREE Catholic Classes Pick a class, you can learn anything

Never Miss any Updates!

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers.

Deacon Keith Fournier Hi readers, it seems you use Catholic Online a lot; that's great! It's a little awkward to ask, but we need your help. If you have already donated, we sincerely thank you. We're not salespeople, but we depend on donations averaging $14.76 and fewer than 1% of readers give. If you donate just $5.00, the price of your coffee, Catholic Online School could keep thriving. Thank you. Help Now >

Catholic Online Logo

Copyright 2019 Catholic Online. All materials contained on this site, whether written, audible or visual are the exclusive property of Catholic Online and are protected under U.S. and International copyright laws, © Copyright 2019 Catholic Online. Any unauthorized use, without prior written consent of Catholic Online is strictly forbidden and prohibited.

Catholic Online is a Project of Your Catholic Voice Foundation, a Not-for-Profit Corporation. Your Catholic Voice Foundation has been granted a recognition of tax exemption under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. Federal Tax Identification Number: 81-0596847. Your gift is tax-deductible as allowed by law.