Tuesday, February 9, 2016

SHROVE TUESDAY, FOUR YEARS LATER


Patricia Youngquist uses words and images to tell stories about her passions. Based in New York, she currently is authoring a series of nature books on birds of the city. Now in Apple’s iBooks store AND it’s on Amazon.

First off I'm just checking in to see how your Chinese New Year's Day fared, dear reader! As I stated here on Blogger yesterday, this is The Year of the Monkey. 

My sister was born in The Year of The Monkey, which is one of the reasons I included a picture of the gals atop today's entry. They call themselves the Valentine sisters!

They are among a number of other whimsical types who are visiting me in honor of Valentines Day. As you may have noticed, I've been including different figurines in a given post (ever since last week), in preparation for Valentines Day.

For even though it's considered by a number of folks to be a retail-based holiday, Valentines Day, is always a good time to reach out to those you love; and it doesn't have to be a significant other.
Today, since my sister is on my mind by virtue of the fact that she was born in The Year of the Monkey! And I'm thinking of a quote by Louisa May Alcott, which is this: "Help one another is part of the religion of sisterhood," which is a quotation I discussed in a post here on Blogger back in 2011.

Rather you have a biological sister, or a "designated" sister in your work, play, or worship, my figurines and I suggest you reach out to them by giving them the gift of Cam, the female cardinal who visits my garden, and happens to have written a book with me, which is called "Words In Our Beak Volume One." The idea of giving Cam as a gift was not our own, it came to us via the love birds, who love birds, and are also visiting us at this time.


In any event those were my recollections re The Year of The Monkey, this evenings thoughts are mostly to due with Shrove Tuesday, a holiday which is today. Some of you may recall that I wrote about this holiday in 2012 here on Blogger.

According to the diary of Samuel Pepys,"Shrove Tuesday (known in some countries as Pancake Day) is a day in February or March, preceding Ash Wednesday (the first day of Lent), which is celebrated in some countries by consuming pancakes."

And Pepys's diary entry also states,"this moveable festival is determined by Easter. The expression 'Shrove Tuesday' comes from the word shrive, meaning 'absolve.' Shrove Tuesday is observed by many Christians, including Anglicans, Lutherans, Methodists and Roman Catholics, who 'make a special point of self-examination, of considering what wrongs they need to repent, and what amendments of life or areas of spiritual growth they especially need to ask God's help in dealing with.'''

"Being the last day before the penitential season of Lent, related popular practices, such as indulging in food that one sacrifices for the upcoming forty days, are associated with Shrove Tuesday celebrations, before commencing the fasting and religious obligations associated with Lent. The term Mardi Gras is French for 'Fat Tuesday', referring to the practice of the last night of eating richer, fatty foods before the ritual fasting of the Lenten season, which begins on Ash Wednesday.'

"The word shrove is a form of the English word shrive, which means to obtain absolution for one's sins by way of Confession and doing penance. Thus Shrove Tuesday gets its name from the custom for Christians to be 'shriven' before the start of Lent. Shrove Tuesday is the last day of 'shrovetide', somewhat analogous to the Carnival tradition that developed separately in countries of Latin Europe.

"In the United Kingdom, Ireland, Australia and Canada, Shrove Tuesday is known as 'Pancake Day' or 'Pancake Tuesday' due to the tradition of eating pancakes (or having Pancake Races) on the day."

The aforementioned diary entry of Samuel Pepy is much more extensive than the quotes I've provided here and if you'd like to read the entry in its entirety, please visit this link.

Meanwhile, the picture below is of yet another whimsical figure who has been visiting me for the pre-valentine holiday, which is five days from today.

Patricia Youngquist uses words and images to tell stories about her passions. Based in New York, she currently is authoring a series of nature books on birds of the city. Now in Apple’s iBooks store AND it’s on Amazon

This little guy is part of entourage of characters who have self-lessly lent their wisdom and philosophy to the Fb entries that I've been posting — since February 1, 2016 — in honor of the pre-Valentine holiday.

Today this particular little friend came forth with a heart-shaped plate filled with chocolate covered cookies!

For upon hearing that today was Shrove Tuesday AKA Pancake Day, or Fat Tuesday and the "supposed" last chance (before the forty days of Lent begin) for "eating richer, fatty foods before the ritual fasting of the Lenten season, which begins on Ash Wednesday," my little visitor wanted to make sure I had my taste treat in advance of Valentines Day, as this year the VD holiday will fall on the first Sunday in Lent.

Therefore, he figured that I should have my Valentine's Day treat now so that I wouldn't break any fatty food "give up" on the first Sunday of Lent!

But my friend needed have concerned himself with this; for I have given up giving up things for Lent, much in the same manner I've stopped making resolutions for a New Year.

My stance on giving up things for Lent and making New Year's resolutions is not an indicator that I don't need to perfect how I am my living my life, for I surely do need to do that.

However I don't perform well with negative connotations. For example, instead of saying I'm not going to eat cookies during Lent, I'd prefer to say, I'll eat more swiss chard. Or instead of saying "I'm not going to swear," I'd rather frame it, "I'm going to let go of sad thoughts." In other words: focus on what I intend to do not on what I intent to avoid.

Be that as it may, there will be those who give up fatty foods for Lent, and my visitor does have a solution for those who want to give their Lenten-observing friends or family member a valentine: Give them the gift of Cam!

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