Karneval and Lent
In Louisiana it’s called Mardi Gras. Here in the Rheinland (the western part of Germany near the Rhein River), it’s called Karneval. Karneval begins on November 11 but isn’t generally celebrated until the last weekend before Lent (this past weekend) and ends today, marked by Rosenmontag “Rose Monday”.
There are big parades.
Candy and treats are thrown into the crowd instead of beads.
People dress up like happy, funny creatures. There’s not much fake blood or fangs. And it’s too cold and rainy for slutwear. Sigh.
Otherwise, I’d guess the drunken rowdiness is the same as Mardi Gras just one day earlier. Perhaps there are less firearms here? Oooh, an American gun joke, was that really necessary?
Did you know that the word carnival comes from the Latin “Carne Vale” – literally Goodbye Meat? And so marks the beginning of Lent.
In the past I’ve given up things for Lent, like chocolate or sweets in general. One year, a friend gave up bread and butter. Since I’m almost 3 months pregnant, umm… I’m keeping bread. Butter though, I could take or leave.
For those of you who are also light on religious history (I include myself in this group), Lent lasts roughly 40 days. Different churches calculate the forty days in different ways, but the forty days represent the time Jesus spent in the desert where according to the Bible, he endured temptation by Satan. Through prayer, penitence, giving and self-denial, this period is meant to prepare everyone who participates for the resurrection of Jesus at Easter.
Whether you are religious or not, the idea of fasting or of giving up something (at least for a period of time) is appealing, isn’t it?
A few other interesting ideas for what to give up on Lent:
- Give up Facebook – this is all over the internet but if you are someone that checks FB 20 times a day it may be worth a thought.
- Give up complaining, gossiping, hating, and blaming – a tall order.
- A financially positive Lent – give up coffee shop coffee, bring your lunch, take the bus to work, or freeze your credit cards for 40 days. I love this one.
After all those great ideas – I’m thinking about giving up cheese. This isn’t my favorite food but is one I’ve been craving recently.
I’m also giving up foul language. At least in spoken form. Achieving zero explicatives in my head could take longer. It’s not that I say ‘bad’ words often, but I do say them here or there. It would be a very good habit to lose before we have an impressionable baby in the fold, no?
Do you have something you want to give up?