Maybe you know, or maybe you are oblivious, but today is Ash Wednesday. That means that yesterday was Shrove Tuesday, or Fat Tuesday as we call it at my house, and the next 40 days are Lent.
Whether you are religious or not, almost all of us celebrate Easter. And once again…Jesus is the reason for the season! I am not here to be preachy or anything else and honestly I haven’t participated in Lent myself in a long time. This year I feel a bit differently about the whole thing. I am not sure why. Maybe because my daughter is actively participating (she goes to the same Catholic School that I did) and looks to me for guidance. Maybe it’s just a personal way to better myself. Whatever the reason here are some of my thoughts/plans/actions on what Lent is really about.
Shrove (FAT) Tuesday is always crazy. Everyone in our geographical area participates. It’s all about the Paczkis! A Paczki is similar to a donut. It is filled with yummy stuff and has either a glaze or a powder on it. The best bakeries in town will have lines out the door, maybe even around the block on the morning of Shrove Tuesday. Does your city have Paczkis? The reason behind Fat Tuesday is that you eat lots of calories on this specific day in order to prepare for Fasting the next day (Ash Wednesday). So I basically ate my regular diet all day plus 1 maple glazed venetian cream paczki and some extra snacks. I wasn’t trying to go crazy but I did let myself have chips because I am giving those up for Lent. 40 days without chips WHAT AM I GOING TO DO?!
Ash Wednesday is the very first day of Lent. During Lent you usually give something up. Something that you will miss greatly. Something that will be hard for you. This is to symbolize the 40 days that Jesus spent in the desert and was tempted by Satan. This year I have decided to give up chips. Maybe that might be an easy thing for some people but for me…chips are my kryptonite. We ALWAYS have chips in the house. My mother buys new bags as soon as we are out. I feel like this is going to be a huge temptation but I think I can do it. If for nothing else but the fact that I should not be eating as many chips as I do in the first place.
Fridays will be filled with fish. Lenten Fridays are supposed to also be for Abstinence (just like Ash Wednesday). So that means no meat on these days!
Now, lent is not just about sacrificing. It is also about giving back or doing good deeds. My daughter is totally into this aspect of Lent and this is the part that I love too. So, as a family, we have decided to sponsor a child from Africa. This decision had less to do with Lent and more to do with being thankful for what we have and wanting to share with the less fortunate. World Vision, the organization that we are sponsoring this child through, seems pretty great. They don’t just help one child with your money, they help that child’s community as well. We really feel amazing about this decision. Not only are we helping one child, that child’s family and their community but we get to use this as a teaching opportunity for my daughter as well. We cannot wait to start sending our letters to our new friend and hopefully receive some in return.
Do you actively participate in Lenten activities? Do you give anything up for Lent? Do you celebrate Easter? How?