Welcome back everyone! I hope everyone had a fun and safe Mardi Gras, especially all you first timers. Some of you may be wondering . . . “what makes Carnival season such a big to-do? What happens after Carnival season that makes it so important to some people?” The answer to that is Jesus. Think about it. What did you do during Mardi Gras? You partied and had a great time with friends, yes? You were celebrating life. Mardi Gras is the fun introduction before a time of somber contemplation while awaiting Good Friday and Easter. Mardi Gras is a time to spend with family and friends before Ash Wednesday and Lent. It’s our last hoorah before we remember how Jesus was tempted by the devil in the desert for forty-eight days and nights until he died for our sins, then resurrected three days later. Now that Mardi Gras is over, what do we do now? First, we start with Ash Wednesday.
On Ash Wednesday, denominations of various religions observe this as the beginning of Lent. Many religions, especially Catholics, receive their ashes to remind them of the age old saying from the Book of Genesis “Remember that thou art dust, and to dust thou shalt return.” This saying translates as we rose from the Earth as dust and we shall return to the Earth as dust. Along with their ashes, believers abstain from eating meat for the day to contemplate one’s transgressions before we continue on with the Lenten season.
During this time of penitential preparation after Ash Wednesday, people “give up” something to heighten the anticipation of Good Friday, the day Jesus died for our sins, and Easter Sunday, Jesus’ day of Resurrection. Most people give up meat, but nowadays, people give up a variety of things that consume their lives. Some people don’t necessarily give up anything, but try to be a better person. Sophomore Katie Swift is giving up OR cookies while sophomore Phillip Cork is giving up video games. But again, no one has to “give up” anything. Some people use Lent as a time to do something more. Junior Alex Hall is using Lent as a time to bring about personal growth by focusing on being more positive and up beat for Lent. I, myself, am striving to go to the gym for Lent, but we shall see how well that goes!
One thing to keep in mind is that you do not have to be Catholic to participate in this exercise of self-control. You can even go beyond the forty-eight days and do it for a year. It kind of sounds like another New Year’s resolution, but that’s okay.
So, I leave everyone with this. Find something that seems to control your life or something you find that seems to be holding you back. It may be Facebook, sleeping too much during the day, being grouchy in the morning, or even having to always eat a few cookies for dessert. Once you find the one thing or item that is holding you back, make a conscious decision to either cut back or give it up. You may even choose to improve someone else’s life outside of your own.
Feel free to tweet us at @UptownCamDining on what you are giving up, cutting back, or adding to your life. We would love to hear from you!
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