Before we begin our 40 days of Lent, much of the world takes part in a day (or period) of festivities. Perhaps most widely known as Mardi Gras or Carnival, central to the celebration is the eating of rich, fatty, and indulgent foods. Made with butter and fat that were given up during the Lenten season, pancakes were one of the traditional meals of this pre-Lent party. It is this heritage that was the backdrop of the Mardi Gras party here at St. John, Tuesday, February 21st.
The two boxes of Mardi Gras decorations found in the gym storage were just enough to give the MPR a festive feel. Gold, green, and purple lights, programmed by Chris Fischer and set up by Elaine Pearson, gave the room a festive glow. Ashleigh put together a playlist, with the help of
WDET’s This Island Earth program, of music from New Orleans along with international offerings from places like Trinidad and Tobago and the Netherlands, to bring in a smattering of some other cultures that were also partaking in the merrymaking that evening.
We began our evening with a little mixer to get talking with each other, and learn
a bit about the different ways the holiday is
celebrated across the globe.
Name tags, filled out by Laverne Pearson and Pastor Mark, boasted either a name for the day in some culture or the place from which the name hails. The person with the Iceland nametag was on the hunt for the person wearing the Sprengidagur (Bursting Day) tag. The Fastnachtsdienstag wearer sought out the person wearing Germany.
Then our feast began. John Dresden and Beth
Fisher assisted with the pancakes, Elaine provided the bacon. For a touch of health, Barb Dresden contributed a lovely salad to balance the plate of indulgence. We had just enough to feed the crowd, not one pancake or piece of bacon left over, and none hungry for more.
After the meal, Ashleigh broke the party people into teams and led them in a series of games based on the Minute to Win It model. Chuck Marshall proved a master at shooting dixie cups with rubber bands. Barb Dresden was champion forehead cookie eater. In the end, there was a tie for first place. The teams were awarded their prize of wildflower seed packets.