Fat Tuesday is the day before Ash Wednesday. It is also known as Mardi Gras Day or Shrove Day. It is a day when people eat all they want of everything and anything they want as the following day is Ash Wednesday, the beginning of a long fasting period. In addition to fasting, participants also give up something special that they enjoy. So, Fat Tuesday is a celebration and the opportunity to enjoy that favorite food or snack that you give up for the long Lenten season.
While I don't give up anything for Lent, I know several people who do. They give up things such as soft drinks, chocolate, bread, and there are even those who laughingly give up items such as broccoli and brussel sprouts! (I have a feeling those last two don't count, especially if you don't like them to begin with!)
Today, especially in New Orleans, Fat Tuesday will be celebrated with parades, costumes, and the "tossing" of beads, coins and stuffed animals. People will indulge in things into the late night hours so that they can "get through" the Lenten season.
I have often wondered if the symbolism of Lent is supposed to mirror the 40 days that Christ spent in the wilderness. Maybe someone who is more familiar with Lent can let me know the answer. But, if it is, I have to wonder if Christ took that day before he entered the wilderness to indulge in all the things that he would miss. Somehow, I think that if he had, we would have read about it somewhere in the bible. And that got me to wondering, would our most trying times come when we were filled... or would they come when we are the most empty?
My point... I think that if we are living our lives according to God's word, and following his leading, we don't need a "Fat Tuesday"... nor do we need to "give up something we enjoy" just for the sake of tradition... if we aren't using this time prior to Easter to reflect on Christ's life, and more importantly, his resurrection, then we are missing the point. And before you comment, please know that if you do participate in Fat Tuesday, this isn't a slam... this just isn't my thing, but for many of you, it is your beginning to the Easter Season. I just don't understand those who participate and don't even know why they do it... they are just "following the crowd".
So today, I won't be over-indulging, and tomorrow I won't be giving anything up. I will spend the next 47 days reflecting on the life, death, and resurrection of Christ, and work on living my life in such a manner that when those trying times come, and they will come for all of us at some point, I am ready to climb into the arms of a God who is more than willing to carry me through them.