We human beings are a bit of a paradox. We hold to beliefs and traditions that seem to be all our own, even claiming them to be uniquely ours. And there is truth in that. Right? After all, there is only one YOU in the world, doing what YOU do and standing for what YOU stand for at any given point in time.
Yet a deeper look begs us to recognize that there is ‘nothing new under the sun,’ and even the very beliefs and traditions we hold unique are quite interlaced with the world around us, and even the historical development of our cultures and countries.
It can be incredibly liberating in embracing both these viewpoints. We can find the seeds towards global unification right there, in the co-existence of both leaving a sense of belonging in the larger world around us, including past, present and future.
Mardi Gras is a great example of this factual reality.
I suppose it might be considered common knowledge that the celebration- Mardi Gras- originates as a Christian feast happening on the Tuesday before Ash Wednesday and the many weeks of Lent. However, the celebration is not so neatly contained. Historians recognize feasts of preparation and fertility from around this very time of year existing before Mardi Gras, one of them being the Roman Feast of Lupercalia. In fact, many of the feasts recognized around the world today seem to have spawned from feasts existing in each culture prior to Christianity. The themes are similar and at times identical, reminding us that as humans we continue to look for the same meaning in the same ways from the beginning of our existence.
What a sense of continuity and belonging this can create. Understanding this universality existing through the ages can dissolve the separations that so easily come about when it comes to beliefs.
In addition, Mardi Gras gives us the opportunity to see how connected we are TODAY as well! Just to name a few, the Czech Republic celebrates ‘Masopust;’ Germany celebrates ‘Fetter Donnerstag;’ Italy celebrates ‘Martedi Grasso;’ and Sweden celebrates ‘Fettisgaden.’ Throughout the world the day is celebrated by people of diverse backgrounds and for diverse reasons with the common theme of Fat Tuesday being a day of splurge before a time of fasting or inward examination.
What is interesting is that that Mardi Gras used to be celebrated during an extended a time of celebration called, ‘Shrovetide,’ extending from Epiphany to the day before Ash Wednesday. Now there is where we oftentimes depart from practices of the past. How often do special celebrations start and end succinctly on one day, or even less? Yet, history shows that celebrations and fasting alike were over extended periods of time, giving participants a chance to marinate in the import of the event.
In our global community we are reduced to a long suffering when it comes to the pandemic, this has not been a quickly resolved dilemma but rather a forced slow process of recovery and healing on every level. We are brought together in an unprecedended way as a global community navigating in our local communities.
So what might be the take-aways as part of the HOPE family?
Here are a few that come to my mind:
In the light of Mardi Gras coming next week, what might be a way you marinate on the themes represented TODAY?
What ways might you open your heart and mind to a new way to see how we are all connected?
What ways could you open yourself to the consolation that you are not alone?
And how might it lead to and influence the reflection that the people we serve as part of the HOPE family oftentimes feel very alone in this world?
How might that play out for you in relation to your local community?
One way you can do all of these things at once is to attend our Mardi Gras celebration!
Click HERE to learn how you can both support HOPE and win prizes: https://www.classy.org/campaign/mardi-gras/c325006
And mark your calendar for the FB Live FREE music and celebration happening 4-6 at Left Hand Brewing in Longmont: https://www.facebook.com/hopeforlongmont/