Total Pageviews

Tuesday, February 16, 2010



The term Mardi Gras or Carnivale may conjure up images of wild parties, over indulgence or raucous abandon, but this was not the intent of this pre-Lenten period also referred to as Fastnächt (eve of the fast) in Germany, or Shrovetide in England. In fact the word “Carnivale” was derived from the Latin “carne levare” which means “taking away of flesh.” Basically referring to both the literal act of not consuming meat during all of Lent, which was the custom in the Catholic Church in the past. But also the symbolic shedding or casting off of the flesh in the penitential fasting and sacrifices made during Lent.

The Monday and Tuesday before Ash Wednesday known as Shrovetide, has been a tradition among Catholics since the middle Ages. The term is derived from the Middle English word, “Shrive” meaning “to confess”. Shrovetide was also a time of “spring cleaning” consequently just as we might clean our houses in preparation of an occasion, we should also clean our souls by making a good Confession before the beginning of Lent, so as to enter this liturgical season in a spiritually clean state.

For items related to Catholic devotion please see Lynn's Timeless Treasures.

Shrovetide Battle of Carnivale and Lent by Pieter Brueghel the Younger
Shrovetide Revellers by Frans Hals

No comments:

Post a Comment