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February 24, 2019: Celebrating Mardi Gras

by the Innovation Hub Team

Mardi Gras, Fat Tuesday, Shrove Tuesday, Pancake Day, Carnival, Fastelavn, Sprengidagur, Tlusty Czwartek, Veilchendienstag, Fastnacht Day… Whatever you call it, the day before Ash Wednesday is a big deal in many languages and cultures. Somewhat like Halloween, another secular holiday that began as a Holy Day, Mardi Gras has outgrown its Christian context and is celebrated now more robustly outside of the church than inside. Mardi Gras, or Shrove Tuesday as we have referred to it here at All Souls over the years, is the day before Ash Wednesday, which is itself the first day of Lent, the season of fasting and penitence that leads to and prepares us for Easter.  For most of Christian history, every day of Lent was taken very seriously, with whole cultures abstaining from all kinds of luxuries and taking on additional practices of prayer and penitence.  So the day before this season was a communal last hurrah, and over time took on its own significance. As such, most people today, even those who do not consider themselves practicing Christians or plan to observe the season of Lent, can celebrate Mardi Gras wholeheartedly.

Over the last year, a small team of All Souls parishioners, under the auspices of a Wesley Seminary Innovation Hub grant, has been researching and experimenting with ways of connecting with interns and young professionals in our neighborhood. One of our most successful recent 20s/30s-oriented events was a movies and spirituality night featuring the animated film “Coco,” inspired by the Mexican Day of the Dead holiday which converges with the Christian celebration of All Saints and All Souls.  The event and its spiritual undertones were attractive to the young professionals with whom we are trying to connect, and we wondered if Mardi Gras might present a similar opportunity.  So this year, our Innovation Hub team has adopted the Shrove Tuesday gathering and is planning a community Mardi Gras party on Tuesday, March 5, from 6-9 p.m., to which we’ll invite neighbors of all ages (though we will be working in particular ways to target young professionals). We’ll have catered Cajun cuisine, a live jazz quartet, and fun carnival activities like mask making and Lent Madness.  The church will also be open for people to light a candle and, if they are not planning to come to an Ash Wednesday service the following day, receive “ashes to go” at the end of the night, if they wish.  We hope you will come to the party, and we hope you will invite someone from outside our church family to join you!       

Last Published: February 19, 2019 5:20 PM
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