Mardi Gras Parade at Elementary School


#1

Does it seem appropriate to encourage Mardi Gras festivity at a Catholic Elementary school by having a Parade on Fat Tuesday?


#2

[quote=WhatIf]Does it seem appropriate to encourage Mardi Gras festivity at a Catholic Elementary school by having a Parade on Fat Tuesday?
[/quote]

Sure. Mardi Gras is a great Catholic cultural tradition. I’m assuming/hoping that the teachers are explaining the history and significance of Mardi Gras in relation to Lent.

Don’t let the perversion of Mardi Gras by the secular culture ruin the idea of a pre-Lent festival. There are a lot of non-drunk, non-sexuallized parades in New Orleans every year.

God Bless,

Robert.


#3

[quote=WhatIf]Does it seem appropriate to encourage Mardi Gras festivity at a Catholic Elementary school by having a Parade on Fat Tuesday?
[/quote]

Don’t forget that the words “Mardi Gras” are simply French for “Fat Tuesday”. The celebration is distinctly Catholic in nature and dates back to Medieval times when meat and meat products (including eggs, milk, and butter) were forbidden during the entire 40 days of Lent. The Fat Tuesday celebration was a massive festival, which included much partying and feasting during which all of the meat and meat products were used up.


#4

BTW…I remember reading in a book about family Catholic activities and observances about having a party at home for Fat Tuesday. The author recommended ending the party at Midnight by praying the rosary.

I still haven’t tried that yet…maybe we’ll do it this year.

God Bless,

Robert.


#5

Oh I think it’s great. Our parish had a Mardi Gras party after mass. We had a great meal with some traditional food and then the kids left to work on crafts. They made Mardi Gras masks and they had someone who blew up balloons. We had the traditional beads that everyone wore for the party and the kids showed off their masks afterward. The adults did some readings and songs from Scripture and basically started thinking about Lent.

I realize like many religious holidays, Mardi Gras has been co-opted by various groups. I understand that in some locations it’s a drunken orgy but no reason for the good of this holiday to be lost in a haze of alcohol and drugs

Lisa N


#6

[quote=Dr. Colossus]Don’t forget that the words “Mardi Gras” are simply French for “Fat Tuesday”. The celebration is distinctly Catholic in nature and dates back to Medieval times when meat and meat products (including eggs, milk, and butter) were forbidden during the entire 40 days of Lent. The Fat Tuesday celebration was a massive festival, which included much partying and feasting during which all of the meat and meat products were used up.
[/quote]

My son did mention that they said a long time ago people used to use up all the meat on Fat Tuesday, but this seems so unrelated to a parade. How do you cook and eat up meat while having a parade?

I could see having a feast, but the Parade thing seems secular and not so related to abstinence.


#7

[quote=WhatIf]My son did mention that they said a long time ago people used to use up all the meat on Fat Tuesday, but this seems so unrelated to a parade. How do you cook and eat up meat while having a parade?

I could see having a feast, but the Parade thing seems secular and not so related to abstinence.
[/quote]

Not sure on this, but the parades may have come from Eucharistic Processions that were common during Church celebrations. Granted they’ve been secularized, but I don’t see how they would be considered profane.


#8

[quote=Dr. Colossus]Not sure on this, but the parades may have come from Eucharistic Processions that were common during Church celebrations. Granted they’ve been secularized, but I don’t see how they would be considered profane.
[/quote]

Ah, now that would make sense, a Eucharistic Procession!

All I know of Mardi Gras is the “Girls Gone Wild” type of thing! I’ve never been to a Mardi Gras parade, but the only thing I have heard about Mardi Gras is lots of drinking and lots of nudity etc. I think my Parish is too accepting of drunkeness, so I am a bit sensitive with whether or not this bleeds over into the school atmosphere.

Our Parish almost never has an event that does not have alcohol. This concerns me because it is a stumbling block for so many and I want my son to know that there are lots of risks involved when you choose to drink alcohol. I don’t like marketing adult activities to children by having kids games and alcohol served at the same event. Maybe I should read up on Mardi Gras and give it more meaning to our family than a Parade.


#9

I read a couple of sites on the Internet about the history of Mardi Gras. I don’t see much religious significance, other than it seems to me to be a display of our tendency to sin.

Someone straighten me out if I am wrong, but it seems like on Fat Tuesday we are acknowledging that we are “no good”. We give in to weakness and then on Ash Wednesday, we begin show everyone that we know we are sinners by being marked with the ashes. During Lent, we turn away from these sins and and avoid temptations and make sacrifices for penance.

Am I getting this right? I still think the Mardi Gras thing is not “spiritual” or religious in any way. It is a tradition, but so is hazing for college kids, but it shouldn’t be a part of a College education.

I can see how it makes sense though. I’m the type that eats a bunch of sweets when I know I’m going to “diet” the next day. I think that is mostly what it is all about and I don’t know why we should be teaching anything about this to grade schoolers. It may be fun and it may be a tradition, but I don’t think there is any real religious aspect to it.


#10

[quote=WhatIf]I read a couple of sites on the Internet about the history of Mardi Gras. I don’t see much religious significance, other than it seems to me to be a display of our tendency to sin.

Someone straighten me out if I am wrong, but it seems like on Fat Tuesday we are acknowledging that we are “no good”. We give in to weakness and then on Ash Wednesday, we begin show everyone that we know we are sinners by being marked with the ashes. During Lent, we turn away from these sins and and avoid temptations and make sacrifices for penance.

Am I getting this right? I still think the Mardi Gras thing is not “spiritual” or religious in any way. It is a tradition, but so is hazing for college kids, but it shouldn’t be a part of a College education.

I can see how it makes sense though. I’m the type that eats a bunch of sweets when I know I’m going to “diet” the next day. I think that is mostly what it is all about and I don’t know why we should be teaching anything about this to grade schoolers. It may be fun and it may be a tradition, but I don’t think there is any real religious aspect to it.
[/quote]

birthdayexpress.com/bexpress/planning/MardiGras.asp

Well…I guess you could spend the whole year in sackcloth and ashes, if that’s what you really want…

Sure. People take the Mardi Gras concept to the level of sin, but it doesn’t have to be that way. Gluttony would be wrong, but what’s wrong with having a nice steak dinner? Drunkeness would be wrong, but what’s wrong with having a bunch of friends over to have a few drinks, laugh and share stories? I think the contrast of enjoying these things the day (or days…Three Kings to Fat Tuesday) before 40 days of holy reflection does help to emphasize Lent.

Then again, for some Catholics the only sign of Lent is the ashes on the forehead for one day and the “oh, I gave up sweets for Lent” comments. No reflection. No good works. Enjoy the seasons!

God Bless,

Robert.

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#11

[quote=rlg94086]birthdayexpress.com/bexpress/planning/MardiGras.asp

Well…I guess you could spend the whole year in sackcloth and ashes, if that’s what you really want…

Sure. People take the Mardi Gras concept to the level of sin, but it doesn’t have to be that way. Gluttony would be wrong, but what’s wrong with having a nice steak dinner? Drunkeness would be wrong, but what’s wrong with having a bunch of friends over to have a few drinks, laugh and share stories? I think the contrast of enjoying these things the day (or days…Three Kings to Fat Tuesday) before 40 days of holy reflection does help to emphasize Lent.

Then again, for some Catholics the only sign of Lent is the ashes on the forehead for one day and the “oh, I gave up sweets for Lent” comments. No reflection. No good works. Enjoy the seasons!

God Bless,

Robert.

[/quote]

Steak sounds great to me! :smiley:
I guess the only thing Catholic about it though, is that Catholics started and still do celebrate Mardi Gras. It just doesn’t seem to have much to do with the Catholic Church and I can’t think of any other celebration that seems Catholic, but doesn’t really have a religious meaning to it. Am I being hard headed?

Easter - makes sense - Resurrection
Christmas - makes sense - Birth of Jesus
Lent - makes sense - Jesus fasted for 40 days
Halloween - that even makes some sense to me because it is before All Saints Day, so we are acknowledging the opposite

Hmm, maybe that resembles the purpose for Mardi Gras - sort of like celebrating Halloween???

Thanks for your comments, everyone. I suppose with its long history, I won’t say anything to the principal, but I think I will be sure that my son knows that we are not approving of gluttony etc. by celebrating Mardi Gras. I haven’t been Catholic for all that long (3 years) and so I don’t have any “tradition” yet for Mardi Gras. I don’t eat more or anything like that just because it is Fat Tuesday. Of course, I eat enough already on a daily basis!!


#12

OK, I grew up in New Orleans, and often still go back for Mardi Gras. First of all, the whole point is to recognize that Lent is starting the next day, so you should enjoy yourself and use up all your rich food before starting the penitential season.

I think the parades come from medieval travelling shows, which were often religious in nature–presenting biblical stories and mysteries of the faith. The other purpose and origin of the parades is for the wealthy to share some of their largesse with the masses. That’s where throwing trinkets comes from.

Finally, I know that New Orleans has a terrible reputation as far as Mardi Gras debauchery. I’m here to tell you that there are plenty of great, wholesome family places to attend the same parades that ultimately wind up downtown where all the monkey business is. I go to the nice places nearly every year with my children. The worst behavior is in the French Quarter, which isn’t even on the parade route, go figure. All the debauchery you see on TV is done by the tourists, seriously.


#13

Remember that if you’re showing a tendency to sin on Mardi Gras, you’re doing it all wrong. It’s better to look at it as an example of how God wants holy people, AND for those people to enjoy themselves and have a good time. Lent is about sacrificing and good works, and Mardi Gras is about appreciating the things we will have to sacrifice. It’s not an opportunity to indulge in sin. God does not stand against parties with friends; on the contrary Jesus seems to have attended a number of them. So we celebrate the gifts that God has given us on Tuesday, and during Lent we sacrifice to commemorate and reflect upon the cost of those gifts.

This isn’t to say that Lent should be the ONLY time to reflect on such things, but it’s a great time to go that extra mile. In the same way, Mardi Gras is a good time to go that extra mile in enjoying the gifts of friendship and celebration that God has given us in His love.


#14

[quote=WhatIf]Steak sounds great to me! :smiley:
I guess the only thing Catholic about it though, is that Catholics started and still do celebrate Mardi Gras. It just doesn’t seem to have much to do with the Catholic Church and I can’t think of any other celebration that seems Catholic, but doesn’t really have a religious meaning to it. Am I being hard headed?

Easter - makes sense - Resurrection
Christmas - makes sense - Birth of Jesus
Lent - makes sense - Jesus fasted for 40 days
Halloween - that even makes some sense to me because it is before All Saints Day, so we are acknowledging the opposite

Hmm, maybe that resembles the purpose for Mardi Gras - sort of like celebrating Halloween???

Thanks for your comments, everyone. I suppose with its long history, I won’t say anything to the principal, but I think I will be sure that my son knows that we are not approving of gluttony etc. by celebrating Mardi Gras. I haven’t been Catholic for all that long (3 years) and so I don’t have any “tradition” yet for Mardi Gras. I don’t eat more or anything like that just because it is Fat Tuesday. Of course, I eat enough already on a daily basis!!
[/quote]

Karneval as it is called over here in Germany always was and still is a Catholic cultural thing.

In protestant northern Germany it is almost non-existing, in the Catholic south it is omni-present, but the best evidence of it being related to Catholicism are mixed regions: It varies from village to village:

In Catholic villages everybody celebrates it, you see parades, the houses often are decorated and from “Fat Thursday” over the whole weekend to “Rose Monday” and “Karneval Tuesday” there often is one single big party.

In the next village which might be protestant there is just plain nothing, you just might see some dressed up kids.

In fact, when driving thru Germany during Karneval you can tell if a village is overwhelmingly protestant or catholic just be looking at the people.

The reason is: Karneval always has been the time when people partied a last time before the lent season, because after lent the (overwhelmingly rural) population had to do the hard farmer’s work, no time for partying.

In February or sometimes early Marcg there was time, and it is a good Catholic tradition to party at times.

The Protestants who always have been suspicious of joy and celebrating soon after the reformation made it verboten, and so it became what it is over here now: A typically Catholic event.

So you guys in a country formed, influenced and ruled by Puritanism keep up good old Catholic traditions and have a Fat Tuesday party today!

Tomorrow is Ash Wednesday, and as an old song goes over here “On Ash Wednesday all partying is over”

Werner


#15

Werner,

It’s been a long time since German classes is High School, but I thought it was called Fasching…including Fasching Diestag (Fat Tuesday). Are Karneval and Fasching interchangable?

God Bless,

Robert.

[quote=Werner]Karneval as it is called over here in Germany always was and still is a Catholic cultural thing.

In protestant northern Germany it is almost non-existing, in the Catholic south it is omni-present, but the best evidence of it being related to Catholicism are mixed regions: It varies from village to village:

In Catholic villages everybody celebrates it, you see parades, the houses often are decorated and from “Fat Thursday” over the whole weekend to “Rose Monday” and “Karneval Tuesday” there often is one single big party.

In the next village which might be protestant there is just plain nothing, you just might see some dressed up kids.

In fact, when driving thru Germany during Karneval you can tell if a village is overwhelmingly protestant or catholic just be looking at the people.

The reason is: Karneval always has been the time when people partied a last time before the lent season, because after lent the (overwhelmingly rural) population had to do the hard farmer’s work, no time for partying.

In February or sometimes early Marcg there was time, and it is a good Catholic tradition to party at times.

The Protestants who always have been suspicious of joy and celebrating soon after the reformation made it verboten, and so it became what it is over here now: A typically Catholic event.

So you guys in a country formed, influenced and ruled by Puritanism keep up good old Catholic traditions and have a Fat Tuesday party today!

Tomorrow is Ash Wednesday, and as an old song goes over here “On Ash Wednesday all partying is over”

Werner
[/quote]


#16

Sure, a Mardi Gras parade would be appropriate.

Don’t forget the pancakes (an old English staple for the day)! And while you’re at it, since it is also known as “Shrove Tuesday” you might as well go and get yourself shriven, just to start of Lent on the right foot.


#17

[quote=rlg94086]Werner,

It’s been a long time since German classes is High School, but I thought it was called Fasching…including Fasching Diestag (Fat Tuesday). Are Karneval and Fasching interchangable?

God Bless,

Robert.
[/quote]

I know you posed the question to Werner… but I was interested too, and looked it up in the Catholic Encyclopedia. I was amazed to find a bit of an answer! :slight_smile:

Shrovetide is the English equivalent of what is known in the greater part of Southern Europe as the “Carnival”, a word which, in spite of wild suggestions to the contrary, is undoubtedly to be derived from the “taking away of flesh” (camera levare) which marked the beginning of Lent.

The English term “shrovetide” (from “to shrive”, or hear confessions) is sufficiently explained by a sentence in the Anglo-Saxon “Ecclesiastical Institutes” translated from Theodulphus by Abbot Aelfric (q.v.) about A.D. 1000: “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 my hear by his deeds what he is to do [in the way of penance]”. In this name shrovetide the religious idea is uppermost, and the same is true of the German Fastnacht (the eve of the fast).

It is intelligible enough that before a long period of deprivations human nature should allow itself some exceptional licence in the way of frolic and good cheer. No appeal to vague and often inconsistent traces of earlier pagan customs seems needed to explain the general observance of a carnival celebration.

So it looks like though they do mean different things, they both referr to the same day.

Also a note to WhatIf: I think the last paragraph is applicable to your situation, and your concerns with the “frivolity” of the occassion.

The whole article is available here:

Shrovetide


#18

I believe that “Fasching” is a Germanization of “Pasch,” or Passover.

Scullini


#19

Actually in Germany there are three names for the event:
In western Germany (the Rhineland) it is called Karneval, in the South (mainly Bavaria) it is called Fasching, and in the Southwest it is called Fastnacht or Fasnet (Fasnet is just dialect for Fastnacht)

The other regions of Germany are historically protestant and don’t have a genuine celebration and name for it.

Karneval ist known to most because it is the italian carnevale and the spanish carnaval, so i mentioned it in my above post, even though where i live we call it Fasnet or Fastnacht (literally “lent’s eve”

Fasching comes from old German “Fastschank” and means literally a “drinking before lent”

As an interesting side note:
Next week on monday there is the so called “Alte Fasnet” or “old Fasnet”, it isn’t celebrated anymore with the exception of the city of Basel, Switzerland.

The original 40 days of lent din’t start on Ash Wednesday but 6 days later, thus the whole Fasnet or Mardy Gras was 6 days later.

Later the Sundays where exempt from the fasting, because worldly and cleric lords wanted to eat meat at least once a week, thus lent had to start 6 days earlier to sill have 40 days.

In several regions the rural European population who often didn’t have enough to eat anyway and hardly ever meat, lent or not, opposed that, because it just meant that they had 6 more days to abstain from music and other things that made their hard live a bit easier.

So in some places the “old Fastnacht” survived for decades and sometimes centuries, though it was made illegal to celebrate it.

Today only in Basel it is still celebrated.

The “old” Fastnacht is also called the “Farmer’s Fastnacht” while the “new” one is called the “Lords’ Fastnacht”

Werner


#20

Our parish (CWL) had a Pancake and Sausage dinner last night. Which we attended.

I think it is nice to keep with these traditions. Also I normally make the pancakes that we had as kids back home (kind of like crepes with a coconut, raisins and cashews filling) though this year my sister made it and gave me some.

So if it properly explained to kids and within reason why not?

Also, DH’s birthday this year is on Ash Wednesday so we went out for a Steak Dinner on Saturday to celebrate.


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