Mardi Gras — literally “Tuesday, Fat” — is simply the day before Ash Wednesday, when us Roman Catholics and a few relations begin a period of self-deprivation and critical self-reflection.
The idea is that one must get in a good dose of revelry (and maybe even some debauchery) to tide one through the 40-day drought. And it is more than just tacitly endorsed by the church hierarchy, as many parishes host a varieties of parties. Well, they endorse the revelry, at least.
Unfortunately, I find that I can’t really enjoy the parties. I feel a nagging guilt about partying to escape the impact of my upcoming Lenten obligations. And yes, I know that I choose these obligations by choosing to be Roman Catholic — there’s no real compulsion outside of my faith. That actually makes it worse for me — I’d be delighted to thumb my nose at a government-imposed religious observance.
What to do? I’ve found that if I dwell on it, I just end up starting the self-critical examinations a day early. My approach in the last few years has been to pick up a good book — something unserious I can read for pleasure — and a tumbler of good Scotch. Ash Wednesday will come soon enough, and I’m already fat. /-:
If you observe Lent, what do you do for Mardi Gras?