Christians prepare for Lent

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, February 12, 2013

For Christians who participate in the penitential tradition of Lent – today, Mardi Gras or Fat Tuesday, is the last hoorah.

In the Christian church, Lent is the 40 days of preparation for the celebration of Easter, and begins this year on Wed., Feb. 13.

Tuesday celebrations originated during the Middle Ages, when food items like meats, fats,eggs, milk, and fish were regarded as restricted during Lent. To keep such food from being wasted, many families would have big feasts on to consume that would become spoiled during the next 40 days.

The English tradition of eating pancakes on Shrove Tuesday came about as a way to use as much milk, fats, and eggs as possible before Ash Wednesday. In France, the consumption of all fats and fatty foods on this day coined the name “Fat Tuesday” or Mardi Gras.

Locally, St. Mary’s Episcopal Church will mark Shrove Tuesday with its annual pancake supper from 5 p.m. until 7 p.m. tonight. Pancakes and all the fixings will be served. Cost is $5 per person or $15 per family. The community is invited to join the congregation in this traditional celebration.

The first day of Lent is called Ash Wednesday, named for the custom of placing blessed ashes on the foreheads of worshipers as a sign of penitence and a reminder of mortality.

Several Ash Wednesday services are planned.

At Christ the King Catholic Church, an Ash Wednesday vigil is set for 6 tonight, Tues., Feb. 12. An Ash Wednesday service is planned at 12:10 p.m. on Wednesday.

First United Methodist Church will have an Ash Wednesday service at 6:15 p.m.

St. Mary’s will offer two services of communion with imposition of ashes, at noon, and at 6 p.m. on Wednesday.