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2006 February 28 — Why Now?
On-line Opinion Magazine…OK, it's a blog
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Before The Fast

As the Pensacola News Journal notes while those areas that were influenced by French Catholicism call today Mardi Gras much of the Christian world refers to today as Shrove Tuesday and instead of King cakes, pancakes are on the menu.

The terms Lent and Easter are derived from Teutonic terms for the spring festival and the goddess of Spring and Dawn, rather than The Fast and The Resurrection which are more correct terms.

In Russia Shrove Tuesday is called Maslenitsa [Масленица-Butter Maiden] and it involves bliny [блины-pancakes], covered in smetana [сметана-sour cream] with ikra [икра-caviar] on top washed down with vodka [водка-little water]. In other areas it is Pancake Day for the same reason. The general idea is to eat up all of the foods that you are going to be avoiding for the next 40 days. The round, golden pancakes are considered sun symbols.

One of the traditions is to make a straw effigy of Maslenitsa to which everyone recounts their sins. At the end of the day the doll and your sins are thrown on a bonfire.

In general everything revolves around rebirth in the Spring.

February 28, 2006   Comments Off on Before The Fast

Shrove Tuesday

Mardi Gras

The last day before the beginning of Lent on the Gulf Coast that once belonged to France, it is Mardi Gras, “Fat Tuesday”: Laissez les bon temps rouler!

It was first celebrated in Mobile, Alabama, but the big show these days is in New Orleans, and it is a holiday in the state of Louisiana, because people wouldn’t show up for work anyway, so why fight it.

This year it continues in spite of Katrina, although it will take a decade to look like the old version, and it will never regain what the wind, water, cronyism, and incompetence have destroyed.

For pictures from the local parades you can stop by Barrier Island Girl.

The tradition is to serve King cake, which is a circle of cinnamon bun dough with a white frosting on top sprinkled with sugar colored purple, gold, and green. If that weren’t bad enough, they put the figurine of a baby in the dough, and whoever finds it in their piece is supposed to be lucky. Actually if you find it and don’t choke on it, I guess you are lucky. You should use a small ceramic figurine, as some of the cheap plastic versions melt in the oven [yummy].

February 28, 2006   Comments Off on Shrove Tuesday