Laissez le bon temps rouler, y’all! Or if you don’t know French, “Let the good times roll.”
Today is Mardi Gras or also known as “Fat Tuesday”, which happens to mark the last day of ordinary time before the start of Lent. Traditionally, Mardi Gras is the day you indulge in all of the bad/good stuff you enjoy. I am taking full advantage of today and have my fill of all the stuff I like to eat. A fun fact about Mardi Gras, in Italy it’s celebrated with everyone attending masquerade balls, unlike it is in New Orleans.
I believe I have stated before that I’m Catholic, so I do happen to practice Fasting and Abstinence in law with Lent. Ever wondered what the rules really entail? Well here is some of the description of what Catholics are required to do.
Abstinence The law of abstinence requires a Catholic 14 years of age until death to abstain from eating meat on Fridays in honor of the Passion of Jesus on Good Friday. Meat is considered to be the flesh and organs of mammals and fowl. Also forbidden are soups or gravies made from them. Salt and freshwater species of fish, amphibians, reptiles and shellfish are permitted, as are animal derived products such as margarine and gelatin which do not have any meat taste.
Fasting The law of fasting requires a Catholic from the 18th Birthday (Canon 97) to the 59th Birthday (i.e. the beginning of the 60th year, a year which will be completed on the 60th birthday) to reduce the amount of food eaten from normal. The Church defines this as one meal a day, and two smaller meals which if added together would not exceed the main meal in quantity. Such fasting is obligatory on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday. The fast is broken by eating between meals and by drinks which could be considered food (milk shakes, but not milk). Alcoholic beverages do not break the fast; however, they seem to be contrary to the spirit of doing penance.
Aside from these minimum penitential requirements Catholics are encouraged to impose some personal penance on themselves at other times. It could be modeled after abstinence and fasting. A person could, for example, multiply the number of days they abstain. Some people give up meat entirely for religious motives (as opposed to those who give it up for health or other motives). Some religious orders, as a penance, never eat meat. Similarly, one could multiply the number of days that one fasted. The early Church had a practice of a Wednesday and Saturday fast. This fast could be the same as the Church’s law (one main meal and two smaller ones) or stricter, even bread and water. Such freely chosen fasting could also consist in giving up something one enjoys – candy, soft drinks, smoking, that cocktail before supper, and so on. This is left to the individual.
Interesting isn’t it? I hope this was informative and go crazy today and get your fill!
Until next time,