Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Happy Mardi Gras!

Today is Fat Tuesday 2009 and I am staring at the biggest king cake I have ever seen. Unfortunately it is not gluten free, so I will not be partaking in the cake this year. However, I am having a few friends over to enjoy it! I can't wait!

Even though I'm not Catholic, I do love Mardi Gras time! I thought I would share a little about the history of Mardi Gras today for those of you who are interested. It's really quite a neat history.

(Mardi Gras history taken from this website. )

Mardi Gras most likely originated from the Romans and Greek from their mid-February celebration known as Lupercalia which honored the god Lupercus. This celebration was very similar in nature to the Mardi Gras today, with drinking and eating and satisfying "pleasure of the flesh." In fact, the term Carnival, often synonymous with Mardi Gras, is derived from the Latin expression meaning "farewell to the flesh."

As many pagan traditions, Lupercalia was converted to a Christian festival and was and still is celebrated today in conjuction with Lent. The carnival-like celebration of Lupercalia thus morphed into a last "fling" before the beginning of the Lenten period. Lent refers to the 40 days of pertinence and purification celebrated between Ash Wednesday and Easter Sunday. During Lent, the religiously faithful refrain from a number of indulgences of the "flesh", including eating meat.

in other words, it's the big party before a time of fasting and sacrifice. (as in giving something up, not like sacrificing as they did in Biblical times..)

Anyway, even though I am not Catholic, I usually try to give something up for Lent. Being from Louisiana I was surrounded by Mardi Gras and Lent at this time of year. My friends in high school always celebrated with a king cake, followed by the challenge of giving something up for 40 days following Fat Tuesday.

My 40 day challenge: (I can't believe I'm actually writing this down.) I will not eat any processed food or drink for 40 days. My proposed outcome is that I will feel tons better having NOT put chemicals and additives in my system. If I do, in fact, feel better than I will hopefully continue this in the future. Over the past few years, well, mainly since I was diagnosed with Celiac Disease, I have cut out a LOT of processed foods and have started eating more natural foods...but I have never gone without them entirely...until now.

Can I do it? We shall see.

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