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Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Mardi Gras and Ash Wednesday

Our Shrove Tuesday feast tonight will be rather subdued, since it will only be the family. We're eating rich food and having a big dessert, but that's pretty much it. I did pick up doughnuts at the store yesterday as a nod to our normal doughnut party.

However, I have noticed the annual upswing in visitors to the blog searching for Ash Wednesday Menus. I'm not sure if there are any schools that have research projects on this, or if there is just a lot of ignorance about Ash Wednesday. So, I thought I'd clarify. There is no traditional or modern menu for Ash Wednesday, as it is a strict fast day. The menu is water. Very young people (children, under 13, and/or unconfirmed), sick people, pregnant people, nursing mothers, people on medication that require food and other exceptions notwithstanding, the menu for Ash Wednesday is pretty much no food. If, for some reason (one of the exceptions above, or specific direction from a spiritual father) one is not fasting completely, then a meat fast, limited meals and trying to eat less than normal is the norm.

For more encouragement on the Lenten fast, please read this from an Orthodox perspective. I break the rules about not discussing asceticism a little because I blog our menus and a little about our family rule and motivation, but it stems from a desire to encourage and help others as we have been helped by reading about their practice and struggle. I liked what she had to say about laboring within your strength. If our piety is too easy, we aren't being challenged enough, but it isn't a strong man contest either.

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