Friday, February 01, 2008

Wait, You're Not Catholic

Today marks the beginning of the last weekend of Mardi Gras. And what better place to celebrate than in Mobile, Alabama, the birthplace of our country's Mardi Gras celebration.

"Wait, you're not Catholic," said my friend, Susan. You're right, Susan; I'm not Catholic. But that won't stop me from driving the entire length of the Great State of Alabama to get beamed in the head with a few Moon Pies and to gather strands of beads from the roadside like they're manna.

True, the Mardi Gras celebration is deeply rooted in the Catholic faith. But it's not like the Pope is going to show up or anything. It's more of an ecumenical free-for-all. Best I can tell, Mardi Gras parades don't discriminate. So I thought maybe the Baptists could benefit from a little Mardi Gras history lesson and see the celebration in a different light.

For example, Fat Tuesday, which will be in just four days. "Mardi Gras" is French for "Fat Tuesday." To brush up on the vernacular, I turned to the foremost authority on all things Catholic, www.americancatholic.org:

"Mardi Gras literally means 'Fat Tuesday' in French. The name comes from the tradition of slaughtering and feasting upon a fattened calf on the last day of Carnival. The day is also known as Shrove Tuesday (from 'to shrive,' or hear confessions), Pancake Tuesday and fetter Dienstag. The custom of making pancakes comes from the need to use up fat, eggs and dairy before the fasting and abstinence of Lent begins." So there you go.

Your instructions are simple: Live it up before your freewheelin' eating ends. Maybe make a mighty stack of pancakes for yourself, and dig in.

If the Catholics have wireless along the Coast, I'll try to post some photos.

Laissez les bon temps rouler, as they say...