Special Celebrations this Week: What Will You Do?

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valentine dinner

I can’t remember a time when Mardi Gras, Ash Wednesday, and Valentine’s Day were all in the same week. I’m sure that it’s happened before, but I’ve not noticed. With Easter being a little “early” this year, I imagine that’s the reason.

My family’s Christian tradition doesn’t include formal observance of the first two, but I’ve always be fascinated by the practices of Shrove Tuesday and Ash Wednesday. The Methodist church I grew up in hosted a pancake supper on Shrove Tuesday, but I had no idea what it was about.

Last week JessieLeigh and I chatted about her observances of Mardi Gras and Ash Wednesday as well as her practices for Lent. I have other friends who choose a fasting type of diet during Lent as a spiritual discipline. For example, they might choose to eat whatever they can afford on a certain amount per day, in solidarity with those less fortunate, or they might narrow in on a certain number of calories for the same purpose.

I am always encouraged and enlightened by these kinds of conversations.

Whatever your tradition, this week offers a number of opportunities to celebrate with your children. Here are some ideas, but I’d love to hear yours in the comments.

Mardi Gras:

Strawberry Pancakes

Have a pancake supper!

Traditionally, starting in medieval times, folks would use up the eggs, butter, and rich dairy products that they were going to abstain from during Lent. This “Fat Tuesday” became a use it or lose it celebration before the more somber, contemplative season of Lent, awaiting Christ’s ultimate sacrifice.

Enjoy a Cajun Feast!

My recent research about Mardi Gras shows that the most predominant celebration is, of course, in Louisiana. The Le Moyne brothers, sent by King Louis XIV to defend France’s claim to Louisiane, arrived in the area on the evening before Mardi Gras, thus christening that section of the river bank, Point du Mardi Gras (Mardi Gras Point).

Serve up a Cajun-inspired feast on Tuesday. Here’s what we normally have:

Valentine’s Day

heart scones

Celebrate a Sweet Valentine

Thursday is Valentine’s Day. We always celebrate it together as a family. Who wants to fight the crowds for a restaurant? Instead I serve our first date meal, Chicken Parmesan, and get heartsy with abandon.

Consider the following:

How are YOU celebrating this week?

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  1. I am Episcopalian, so we celebrate both Shrove Tuesday and Ash Wednesday, but our celebrations are going to be a bit muted this year since we are within 10 days of moving overseas. We don’t plan on observing Shrove Tuesday, but we are going to attend a 12 pm Ash Wednesday service. Our Valentine’s Day celebrations have always bee small, though. I am making chocolate chip cookies for my husband (his favorite) and he will probably buy me a box of chocolates (I love chocolate). I have not decided what I will do this year for the Lenten season. This year and last year I was pregnant so I did not want to fast in any way. Last year I read the New Testament. Since I am swamped by moving overseas, I might just choose chapters of the Old Testament to read this year.

  2. An interesting coincidence of events has occurred to shape our celebrations this week. To go for a “nice” date, we have to drive about 45 minutes from our rural small town. To go to my doctor of choice, we have to drive about 45 minutes from our rural small town. I have an appointment tomorrow. I suggested to hubby that we go for our date (which we’ve been holding onto special money for since Christmas) on Tuesday. He doesn’t mind skipping his normal Tuesday thing because it just all works so well. So, for our Valentine date we’re going to a Louisiana style restaurant on Mardi Gras. Oh, did I mention my husband’s from Louisiana? I’m excited. For our little man, Valentine’s Day will primarily consist of a new toy car from his Daddy and a balloon from me (he is crazy about balloons right now!). I’ll do more when he’s more than one y/o.

  3. I’m planning a heartsy family dinner date night as well for Valentine’s day!!
    I think I’ll make Hm Pasta dough and make heart Shaped Ravioli with red sauce for the kids and Ravioli with Lemony Garlic Butter Shrimp for the adults, Heart Shaped Knock off version of Red Lobster’s Garlicky Cheddar Bay Biscuits, and I plan to make a salad as well with heart shaped cucumbers and carrots!!! and for dessert Heart Shaped mini cakes drizzled in chocolate, Rich, and Decadent dinner for my most favorite people!!

    We’re planning a family movie night that night too, and I think we’ve settled on The Princess Bride, Poor Wesley is inspiring with his unending love ……As you wish!!!