What is Mardi Gras? Should Christians celebrate Mardi Gras (Shrove Tuesday)?
"Mardi Gras literally means "Fat Tuesday" in French (called Pancake Tuesday in England, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shrove_Tuesday ) and is associated with the Roman Catholic custom of Lent. But is it taught in the Bible? Would God want Christians to celebrate it?
The idea behind Mardi Gras or carnival celebrations is that people overindulge before giving up something for Lent, which begins the following day with Ash Wednesday. (Lent is the 40 weekdays from Ash Wednesday to Easter observed by the Roman Catholic, Eastern and some Protestant churches as a period of penitence and fasting.)Note the following encyclopedia article excerpt:
"Some scholars have noted similarities between modern Mardi Gras celebrations and Lupercalia, a fertility festival held each February in ancient Rome. However, modern Carnival traditions developed in Europe during the Middle Ages (5th century to the 15th century) as part of the ritual calendar of the Roman Catholic Church.
"Today pre-Lenten Carnivals are celebrated predominantly in Roman Catholic communities in Europe and the Americas. Cities famous for their celebrations include Nice, France; Cologne, Germany; and Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. New Orleans, Louisiana, holds the most famous Mardi Gras celebration in the United States. Residents of New Orleans have been celebrating Mardi Gras since the 18th century" ("Mardi Gras," Encarta).
Mardi Gras "is a lively, colorful [not to mention bawdy and debased] celebration held on Shrove Tuesday, the day before Lent begins," says the World Book Encyclopedia. It "goes back to an ancient Roman custom of merrymaking before a period of fast." In places like New Orleans, the period of merrymaking with fancy balls and parades goes on for weeks leading up to Fat Tuesday itself."
More at: http://www.ucg.org/bible-faq/christian-celebrate-mardi-gras.htm
While this festival is highly popular, is it merely harmless fun?
"Mardi Gras is considered to be the last day for indulging in the pleasures of the flesh before Lent begins. In fact, the word Carnival means “farewell to the flesh,” and comes from the Latin words carnis (“flesh”) and vale (“farewell”).
This festival is so popular that millions celebrate it. For example, three million people flock to New Orleans annually to participate in what is often billed as “the greatest free show on earth.” It adds an estimated $1 billion to the city’s economy, and its population more than doubles during the week leading up to Fat Tuesday.
While this festival is highly popular, is it merely harmless fun?
Even though Carnival is observed around the world, let’s consider more closely how Mardi Gras is celebrated in America.
From Ancient Times
This may come as a surprise, but Mardi Gras long predates Christianity. The earliest record comes from ancient times, when tribes celebrated a fertility festival that welcomed the arrival of spring, a time of renewal of life. The Romans called this pagan festival Lupercalia in honor of “Lupercus,” the Roman god of fertility. Lupercalia was a drunken orgy of merrymaking held each February in Rome, after which participants fasted for 40 days.
As pagans converted to Catholicism, they did not want to give up this popular celebration. Church leaders, seeing that it was impossible to divorce the new converts from their pagan customs, decided to “Christianize” this festival. Thus, Carnival was created as a time of merrymaking immediately preceding their pagan 40-day fast, which the church renamed “Lent.” During Carnival, participants indulged in madness and all aspects of pleasure allowable, including gluttony, drunkenness and fornication."
More at: http://www.realtruth.org/articles/416-mgjhf.html
Examining Lent’s Purpose"During the Lenten period, lasting from Ash Wednesday to Easter, observers abstain from certain foods or physical pleasures. Some vow to give up bad habits such as smoking or nail biting while others abstain from chocolate or a certain kind of ice cream. Others promise to help “heal the environment” by walking to work for 40 days instead of driving or use Lent as a time to give to others without being recognized for their good works.
Abstaining from physical pleasures or modern conveniences supposedly imitates Jesus Christ’s 40-day fast in the wilderness (Matt. 4:1-2), helps the believer understand the suffering of Christ, and better prepares him or her for Easter.
Given that this practice appears well-intentioned and those who practice it seem sincere, Lent must be a practice that God approves.
Or does He?
As surprising as it may seem, Lent was never observed by Christ or His apostles. He commanded His disciples to “Go you therefore, and teach all nations…to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you” (Matt. 28:19-20). Jesus never commanded them to observe Lent or Easter. He did, however, command the keeping of Passover and the Days of Unleavened Bread. In fact, during His last Passover on Earth, Christ gave detailed instructions on how to observe the Passover service. He also instituted new Passover symbols." (John 13:1-17; Luke 22:19-20).
More at: http://www.realtruth.org/articles/115-ttmol.html
Easter and Lent are nonbiblical and were not observed by the apostles or the 1st-century Church. The biblical record shows, however, that the early Church diligently kept other observances, the New Testament Passover and Feast of Unleavened Bread, just as Jesus and the apostles had done (Matthew 26:17-19; Acts 20:6; 1 Corinthians 5:8; 11:23-26). These were supplanted in later years by the customs and practices of Easter and Lent. From: http://www.gnmagazine.org/issues/gn09/eastersunday.htm
Yesterday, Jay and I drove into Conroe to pick up some material for the carport's sunshades, and a tank of gas at Kroger's at 10 cents off. I really needed to fill up before we went any farther , and that is the cheapest place.
We couldn't go to Mindi's ranch outside of Montgomery, TX, first thing, as her husband works nights, and was still asleep.
So we drove all the way from Conroe to Montgomery on the 105 West, and then turned north on FM 149 to her ranch.
I took 2 pictures while Jay was opening the gate to her property, but was too busy to take any more.
We were there to pick up some items out of a cab over camper that had been demolished. Her husband is a scavenger and pack rat, and she was trying to get rid of things before they became just junk.
I petted my old poodle boarders, Caesar, Punkie, Shuggy, old Sheba, plus Princess, the dachshund, and Puddin', the Yorkie. They were so pleased to see me, just as I was tickled to see them. For several years I took care of them for three days a week, while Mindi was doing her flight attendant thing. Mindi 's adopted little toddler, Noah, was held tightly by her hand everywhere we went around the property, she really has to keep tabs on him.
We came back with several RV items: RV fridge, stove/oven, vent hood, water pump, baggage doors, sink, 12v. florescent lights, none of which have been tested.
Leaving there, on a beautiful drive in the forested country roads, and we came back on FM 1097, which has a long bridge over Lake Conroe. The water was as smooth as glass, but I was driving and couldn't take a picture with the traffic behind me. There is no stopping on the bridge, anyway, so this is an old picture.
We left all the materials for the carport, and the RV parts in the van overnight.
We unloaded the van, and put everything away. We did touch the wires on the water pump to a battery, and it make noise, but haven't tried to pump water with it yet. It is the only thing that we might use in the cargo trailer.
The rest will probably go on Craigslist or our local http://www.bookoo.com/ I don't like gas/electric ammonia type RV fridges, so I have no use for it.
Jay did a bit of work on the cargo trailer counter top supports, but we were interrupted by two different people.
First came Roni, the gal down the street, who wanted me to make a copies of a handwritten contract that she had written up. Her writing was so light and spidery that it wouldn't copy, so I rewrote it on the computer, and made her copies.
The next person was one of the people involved in the contract, and they wanted me to sign someone else's name on a paper, and I wouldn't do it. It took me a while, but I finally found the phone number of the person whose name they wanted me to sign, Roni's father, so they could talk to them about it. But then I spoke to Roni's father on the phone, and he said to put it in Roni's name anyway, so it was a big waste of time.
Even though the weather was wonderful, by then it was too late to start on anything else, so we called it a day.