It’s been 15 years since I’ve been to Mardi Gras, but the debauchery is still fresh in my mind. I knew little back then of the religious significance of the holiday and just enjoyed the excuse to party without reservation. It wasn’t until I was in college and met a friend of a friend, who was from New Orleans. I was blown away by the fact that Mardi Gras and the days leading up to it are true holidays in the area. No school, no work, multiple parades and parties . . . Are you kidding me? Where do I sign up? As an older, wiser (self-proclaimed) Catholic parent I now see beauty in a society that remembers their traditions and holds tight to them.
". . . Carnival became a period of abandon and merriment that preceded the penance of Lent."
I can only imagine what the family who hosted us for Mardi Gras in 1993 thought of my friends and I while they were preparing for High Holy Days. I am certain we were polite when we were in their home, but I don't remember quite how we separated from them at the parades. Safe to say they were the lucky ones! As my own family and I prepare to fast on Ash Wednesday and devote ourselves to the Lenten season I toast my friend, Kellie, in New Orleans and everyone like her. They are native New Orleanians, they do not celebrate just because they can carry drinks down the street, and they deserve the holiday because they are willing to stand up for it and cherish what is theirs.
Laissez Les Bon Temps Roulez!