Today in the Traditional Catholic Church it is known as Shrove Monday and is part of shrovetide, or the days leading up to Lent in which the faithful are to obtain absolution of their sins. The word shrove actually derives from the word shrive, which means to hear confessions. The days of shrovetide were to be used as a means of preparing ourselves for the coming forty days of Lent, and the faithful would go to confession to prepare themselves and then prepare their larders by doing away with any meats or rich foods in the household. But of course, man with his inclination to sin, began to use these days as an excuse to over indulge…”We have to rid the house of this rich food“, so, over indulgence became the custom and today it is more commonly celebrated as Fat Monday and Fat Tuesday, as part of the bigger Mardi Gras celebrations in New Orleans and the Gulf Coast Region.With huge parades and flamboyant celebrations, we have taken the religious and penitential aspects out of it and have turned it into days of continuous parties and drunkenness…more often than not, it also includes indecent behavior as woman bare their breasts to receive cheap gaudy beads thrown from floats….and the homosexual groups have moved in…creating an atmosphere of sexual perversion…such are the ways of the wicked…such are the ways of man!
The early Church used to try to curb these sinful activities by holding solemn processions through the streets with the Blessed Sacrament to remind the faithful of the somber nature of the coming weeks, but the celebrations continued to grow ( more often than not the secular world grabs hold of the religious holiday and destroy it…)and these festivities became such a part of the tradition of the populations that there was no way the Church could contradict the importance these days held for the faithful. Inevitably, the clergy created ways to minimize the impact of the excess of the initial celebrations, by reincorporating them in the proper traditions of the Church and holding religious observances such as Forty Hour Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, and solemn processions as a means of offering the faithful a true means of reparation.
I know a family where taking part in the Mardi Gras parade has become a yearly tradition…almost a religious event for them…if you would even suggest that this behavior was wrong they would condemn you for suggesting such a thing. But these same people never partake in the actual Lenten days that follow. In fact,the majority of people who partake in these Mardi Gras events, do so with a secular; world view…its all fun and games for them...and they miss an opportunity to join themselves to the supernatural….the Mystical Body of the Holy Mother Church…
It is really a sad commentary on our country…on our society as a whole. I am not saying that everyone who goes to Mardi Gras is doing so with the intention of sin…but so much of what it has become today is overshadowed by the outright…in your face, sexual perversion and immorality. From what we see reported…it would appear that a huge loss of innocence is taking place on the streets of New Orleans. Many are so eager to join in the drunkenness and ‘orgies of sin’ but they fail to recognize how these very actions separate them from the Holy God who made them.
As faithful Catholics, let us remember the reason for these two days that lead us straight into the heart of Lent…Ash Wednesday…let us celebrate with confession…which by the way, is the only way we gain true freedom while here on earth...and let us strive to start Lent with a ‘clean slate’. Make a King’s Cake (recipe from ‘Taste of Home’ below) today and have yourself a ‘Fat Tuesday’ feast tomorrow with pancakes as well…but don’t go overboard…remember Lent starts on Wednesday!
- 2 packages (1/4 ounce each) active dry yeast
- 1/2 cup warm water (110° to 115°)
- 3/4 cup sugar, divided
- 1/2 cup butter, softened
- 1/2 cup warm 2% milk (110° to 115°)
- 2 egg yolks
- 1-1/4 teaspoons salt
- 1 teaspoon grated lemon peel
- 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 3-1/4 to 3-3/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 egg, beaten
- 1-1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar
- 2 teaspoons lemon juice
- 2 to 3 tablespoons water
- Green, purple and yellow sugars
- In a large bowl, dissolve yeast in warm water. Add 1/2 cup sugar, butter, milk, egg yolks, salt, lemon peel, nutmeg and 2 cups flour. Beat until smooth. Stir in enough remaining flour to form a soft dough (dough will be sticky).
- Turn onto a floured surface; knead until smooth and elastic, about 6-8 minutes. Place in a greased bowl, turning once to grease the top. Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 1 hour.
- Punch dough down. Turn onto a lightly floured surface. Roll into a 16-in. x 10-in. rectangle. Combine cinnamon and remaining sugar; sprinkle over dough to within 1/2 in. of edges. Roll up jelly-roll style, starting with a long side; pinch seam to seal. Place seam side down on a greased baking sheet; pinch ends together to form a ring. Cover and let rise until doubled, about 1 hour. Brush with egg.
- Bake at 375° for 25-30 minutes or until golden brown. Cool completely on a wire rack. For glaze, combine the confectioners’ sugar, lemon juice and enough water to achieve desired consistency. Spread over cake. Sprinkle with colored sugars. Yield: 1 cake (12 slices).