Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Fat Tuesday - Mardi Gras in Montana

Today is Ash Wednesday, and the first day of Lent, the season before Easter which many Christians observe as a time to reflect, repent, fast - or refrain from various indulgences.


Yesterday, however, was Mardi Gras, or “Fat Tuesday.” Some of the pagan traditions of this holiday became incorporated in the Christian calendar. As the Christian faith spread through the Roman Empire, these festivities became a prelude to Lent, because the leaders of the newly-forming religion decided it was wisest not to prohibit them!

Fat Tuesday is the last day to indulge before the season of penance. Over the years, according AmericanCatholic.org, it has been known to be “a raucous, sometimes hedonistic event.” Even in New Orleans, (the American city synonymous with Mardi Gras) the huge street party apparently ends at midnight, in observance of Lent. I could devote several pages to information about Mardi Gras, but if you are interested in learning more, the links I provided here are informative.

Various countries around the world celebrate Mardi Gras, but History.com states that Louisiana (the State where New Orleans is located) is “the only state in the USA where it is a legal holiday.” Celebrations and various sorts of observances of this tradition do occur, however, all over the United States.



Helena, MT is no exception. For example, Helena Food Share throws an annual fundraising dinner which is an elaborate Mardi Gras party. And this year, the annual Helena Night to Shine Talent Show had a Mardi Gras theme.

The 22nd annual Night to Shine talent show took place last night at the Helena Civic Center. High school students from the Helena area, no matter where they go to school and with abilities ranging from music, dance, juggling, martial arts, etc., may audition for this event. This year eighteen performances were selected. In addition to their talent, the confidence these performers must have to perform before a sold out crowd of 2000 people is remarkable. (Ticket prices ranged from $10 to $25, and the show always seems worth much more!) Night to Shine is sponsored by the Helena Community Credit Union, and produced by the Helena High School and Capital High School DECA clubs.


This annual Helena event is always a wonderful evening.
My son sings and plays guitar, and he has participated in various acts in Night to Shine for the past three years. This year, the band he belongs to performed a song incorporating piano, rap, beatbox, vocal, and guitar.

My Fat Tuesday overindulgence was perhaps pride, as I watched to my son and the other performers dance, sing, and make music last night.



Did you do anything to celebrate "Fat Tuesday" this year?

This post may be linked to one of the great link-up parties I follow and list on my blog. Check them out!




15 comments :

  1. We don't do much at our house for Mardi Gras and haven't ever been before but I have been to New Orleans during "non-Mardi Gras" times and it is an amazing experience. I wouldn't deal with the crowds and since I don't drink it would be pretty awkward but to walk along those same streets in daylight and to look at the balconies that have shards of glass embedded into them so drunk people can't climb up. Not my cup of tea but I'm glad we went when we did we had a fun time walking around that part of the city.

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    1. As much as I have traveled, I have yet to get to New Orleans. It is definitely on my bucket list though!

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  2. Our only nod to Mardi Gras is sternly correcting our little granddaughters when they try to pull their shirts up. (What is it with little kids and shirts - or dresses?) We'll just give them the beads. No actions necessary . . . :)

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    1. And congratulations to your son! I'm proud of him, too! :)

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    2. Yes - those dresses and shirts do tend to come up! I suspect there were quite a few women in New Orleans this week who never got the instructions you gave your granddaughters! I passed along your compliment to my son :)

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  3. I have to admit, the headline "mardis Gras in Montana" made me want to read on! We aren't celebrating this year, though.

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    1. The words Mardi Gras and Montana do sound unusual together, don't they?!

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  4. Thanks for the informative post Susan. Congratulations to your son!
    Lori

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    1. Glad you liked it Lori. I learned a lot while researching for this post!

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  5. What a cool event! While we definitely observe Lent, I have never done much for Mardi Gras. How fun to watch your son perform - congratulations to him!

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    1. Thanks Lana. He said Night to Shine is his favorite night of the year - and I think it might be mine as well!

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  6. I'm afraid I've had one too many 'fat Tuesdays' in my life lol.

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    1. If only Tuesdays were fat days ... !

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  7. I didn't know fat Tuesday existed so I guess I missed it

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    1. I only learned about it in the past few years!

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