It look's like you don't have Adobe Flash Player installed. Get it now.
Some people have noticed an increasing trend toward Protestant and other non-Catholics celebrating the season. This leads to the question: What is the connection between Carnival, Lent, Mardi Gras, and non-Catholics?
Dr. John Schmalzbauer, the Blanche Gorman Strong Chair in Protestant Studies at Missouri State University, helped answer this question.
Episcopalians have always really observed those holidays, although they might not call it Fat Tuesday, they might call it Shrove Tuesday, and it might be known for pancakes rather than parades. Lutherans follow the Liturgical calendar, and so Lent means something to them. Some groups, it kind of depends on the congregation and local custom. It may be the case where they’re starting to observe it more. Methodists have not always and everywhere celebrated Ash Wednesday or Lent, but now they do so.
Schmalzbauer said some non-Catholics have a hunger for these enduring practices and rituals. Some non-Catholics may be inclined to practice the celebrations leading up to Lent, like Carnival and Fat Tuesday, he said, but not so inclined to practice the abstention of Lent. He feels that this is simply human nature.
He said others simply get caught up in the sheer marketing of the season.
When we lived in New Jersey, across the country actually, they were trying to market a Polish pastry called a Paczki, for Fat Tuesday. Somehow they managed to have grocery stores across the country, from New Jersey to Indiana, have this traditional Polish pastry that people eat on Lent.
Aside from Polish pastry, people here in the Ozarks have another deeper connection to the season. According to Schmaltzbauer, there are signs that early German settlers in this region carried their roots surrounding Ash Wednesday and Lent with them.
They wouldn’t call it Mardi Gras, Fast Naught, or Fasching is actually the same word from where we get our local park here.
From Fassnight Park to eating a Polish pastry, the cultural signs of Lent and the celebrations leading up to it are scattered throughout the Ozarks.
For KSMU News, I’m Shane Franklin.