Thursday, February 26, 2009
The Lenten Season
Okay, so officially, I am not Catholic anymore. I did grow up Catholic, spent fourteen years in Catholic school and tried desperately to find my place in the Catholic Church. Didn't happen for me. I realized after the third person walked into Starbucks with black stuff on their forehead that yesterday was Ash Wednesday. For those of you who do not know, this signals the beginning of the Lenten season. The forty days before Easter. You will see signs for fish fry's on fridays. People will give stuff up for Lent. Could be coffee, could be chocolate, could be fast food. The funny thing is, most people will stick to it.
That meant that Tuesday was "Fat Tuesday". This can take on many different roles. Your last day to gorge on chocolate or big macs or whatever. Here in Michigan, with a very large Polish population, it means it is Packzi day. That is pronounced poonchkies. I never knew what that was until I lived here. If you don't live around a large Polish population, you probably don't know what it is, let me explain. A packzi is a deep fried donut filled with about ten pounds of filling that is only made on Fat Tuesday. This is not your mommas jelly donut. This thing is the size of your hand and weighs at least half a pound. Traditionally, they were filled with prune filling and every polish person you know says these are the best kind. We as Americans have totally changed it. You can get any fruit filling you want and of course, the piece de resistance, custard. Not frosting. Custard. At least half a pound of custard in a deep fried donut. Everyone brings them to work. People stand in line for hours down in Hamtramk (a city here mostly made up of Polish people). After all, they only make them one day a year. You can even get them at Wal-mart, but those don't really count. You need an old polish grandma making them in the back to count. The local news will also let you know they have 30 grams of fat in each one and at least 800 calories. Everyone still brings them to work.
I don't know the history of of who started what, but usually in every culture, you gorge before Lent. It's your last chance. I, being the rebel I am, always vowed to do something for lent, not give something up. Lent has a great message of sacrifice and self denial in memory of Christ's self denial and sacrifice for us. It is a great concept.
Think about it. Maybe you could vow to read your bible daily. Or vow to exercise daily. Or give something up. One Lent I gave up fast food and lost twenty pounds. It's a good thing. Or eat more veggies or whatever. It may have gotten watered down during the years, but it was originally a time of fasting and pledging your life to God. That is never a bad thing.
So what are you going to do today to honor God? Somedays it is just rolling out of bed and making lunches and making sure the kids are all on the bus. We all have days like that. That honors God. Did you give up anything for Lent? Did you vow to do something? Let me know.
God bless you and yours.