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 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!