Hubby and I are going to our first Mardi Gras party EVER this weekend and I’m excited about it though a little afraid we won’t fit in.
I’ve seen pictures of such before and I know they hold some celebrations of it in downtown Seattle with parades and all that but have never gone before due to the immense crowds of crazy people I’ve heard attend these. Sounds fun, but I’d probably freak. Also, I’m not Catholic. I’m an ecclectic Agnostic with slightly Wiccan leanings, a witch without religion. Catholics used to burn witches. Not a good mix. As Catholics no longer do that, I do, in fact, have quite few friends that are Catholic. I still don’t understand them. Not really.
For instance, I thought Mardi Gras/Carnival was Catholic celebration but didn’t know for sure since it doesn’t really resemble anything I’d tend to think of as religious, but I got this explanation/verification from Wikipedia:
The terms “Mardi Gras” (pronounced /ˈmɑrdiɡrɑː/), “Mardi Gras season“, and “Carnival season“, in English, refer to events of the Carnival celebrations, beginning on or after Epiphany and ending on the day before Ash Wednesday. Mardi Gras is French for “Fat Tuesday” (in ethnic English tradition, Shrove Tuesday), referring to the practice of the last night of eating richer, fatty foods before the ritual fasting of the Lenten season, which started on Ash Wednesday. Related popular practices were associated with celebrations before the fasting and religious obligations associated with the penitential season of Lent. Popular practices included wearing masks and costumes, overturning social conventions, dancing, sports competitions, parades, etc. Similar expressions to Mardi Gras appear in other European languages sharing the Christian tradition. In English, the day is called Shrove Tuesday, associated with the religious requirement for confession before Lent begins.
The article went on but didn’t get any clearer than mud to me. I can now reiterate with gusto that I don’t understand Catholics. I know about Lent. Some time before Easter, Catholics take a break from eating meat and feel like they’re suffering because they have to eat seafood instead. Hey, if you don’t want that tilpa with scallops and shrimp I’ll take it! Yum! And then they fast for real I think?
So I guess this is what makes Fat Tuesday such an event to celebrate even though their eating or non-eating choices were theirs to begin with? But they get really crazy during Mardi Gras/Carnival, seeming to do everything they normally either abstain from entirely or don’t get that much into: wild drinking, wild partying, gorging themselves, free love, flashing bare breasts in exchange for beads, dressing skimply, flashy, scary, strange…. I don’t get it. I mean, I’m sure it’s all in good fun but, excuse me, can someone please tell me where all the conservative religionists went?
Yeah, well I’m not one of them and won’t be flashing my breasts for beads much as Jeb teases I will. I’m not Catholic… which is part of what puzzled me about the party invitation. You see, my belly dance instructor Rishi is hosting the party in a large hall downtown. There will be barbeque and New Orleans style food, live jazz bands, and dancing. Fun! Rishi isn’t Catholic either but I never asked her if she was or not until today. Asking people about their religion is generally taken as an excuse by some to start preaching it and, thank you, NO.
She seems more like me in her philosophical standing though while her husband might very well be Catholic. Well, he’s from New Orleans anyway and is definitely a Mardi Gras type personality, very lively, bouncy, easy going, cheerful. I got that from meeting him just ONCE it came through so strongly. He and Rish run a fancy little restaurant in Everett called the Prohibition Grill that features New Orleans haute cuisine.
I said to Rishi, “But I’m not Catholic. Isn’t Mardi Gras just for Catholics?”
“Of course not,” she said. “Everyone is welcome. Everyone celebrates.”
Well I’m all for celebrating just because… but what are we supposed to be celebrating? I’m so confused.
I looked at Mardi Gras pictures HERE this morning and saw amid all the glitz, quite a few scary figures too, some of which appeared to be Incan priests (you know, the heart rip out and eat it kind) and other canabalistic type figures. Uhm…. Why???? I don’t get it.