TRIVIA FOR FUN
In what year was Mardi Gras declared an official Louisiana state holiday?
A ) 1837 B ) 1920 C ) 1875 D ) 1718
The Louisiana Legislature formally proclaimed Mardi Gras a state holiday in 1875, shortly after the end of the Civil War. Since then, Fat Tuesday has become synonymous with Louisiana. And 143 years later, the state’s public offices and schools still close on the Monday and Tuesday before Ash Wednesday.
Isaac and Rebecca
February is a month of celebration and romance. What’s more, it is a time when most of us consider the states of our personal relationships. As we reflect, we should also turn to the Word. By doing so, we learn that the joys and sorrows we experience in our contemporary relationships differ very little from those faced by people in the Bible.
The marriage of Isaac and Rebecca is one of the most interesting affiliations found in scripture. They married (never having met one another) after Isaac’s father Abraham sent a servant to Armenia to choose a bride for his son. Rebecca was randomly selected from the family of Bethuel, and luckily, she and Isaac got along relatively well.
Isaac is fairly unique in terms of the Old Testament because he was unconditionally faithful to his wife. There is no evidence of any extra-marital, romantic relationships, and although it was common at the time, he did not practice polygamy. That being said, his marriage was hardly ideal. Rebecca famously helped her youngest son, Jacob, lie to Isaac, and in the process, deprived her elder son, Esau, of his birthright.
What Does it Mean?
Literally, Fat Tuesday (in French), the day before Ash Wednesday.
Because it precedes the season of Lent, a time of sacrifice and fasting before Easter, Mardi Gras is considered the last day to indulge in feasting, celebration, and excess. This year, Mardi Gras occurs on February 13.
The first day of Lent in the Western Christian Church, marked by services of penitence.
For many denominations, Ash Wednesday is a day of abstention. It marks the beginning of the Lenten season and is an occasion for peaceful self-reflection. Its name comes from the practice of priests painting ashen crosses on the foreheads of their parishioners. The crosses are bold reminders that “from dust thou came and to dust thou shalt return.”
A time of fasting and repentance.
Not all Christians observe Lent, but, for those who do, it is a period of atonement. Between Mardi Gras and Easter, many people give up something they cherish and replace it with prayer as a means of strengthening their relationship with Christ. This year, Lent lasts from February 14 to March 31.