i don’t know why, but i have a french music obsession today. i’m playing one soothing playlist after another. perhaps somewhere deep inside of me i’m tapping into my french-ness. i have no connection to france or anything french, except that i studied it for 2 years in high school. or perhaps i woke up feeling french-ish because today (in the states) fat tuesday is celebrated… mardi gras in french.
there are little celebrations all over the country, in pubs and other restaurants, but the main celebration happens down in new orleans, the southern louisiana, french & cajun-inspired, party city. it’s a day of parades, masks, beads, drunkeness, food, music, & all night street parties. colors of purple, green, and gold are everywhere symbolizing justice, faith, & power. i’ve never been to the real mardis gras celebration in new orleans, but i’ve always wanted the experience. oh yeah, it’s on my bucket list. i have been to my share of mardi gras celebrations, though…. all kinds of celebrations.
so, why the celebrations? why fat tuesday? well, the name of the day is referring to the last day of eating rich, yummy foods before the ritual of fasting for the lenten season (the 40 days + sundays. more about that tomorrow.) before easter. the celebration of mardi gras in the states is quite popular in secular culture, while the practice of fasting before easter is only a spiritual practice of a few (compared to the mardi gras celebrations). though, most people who fast, fast from one thing – like Facebook, or soda, or candy. they do not actually fast, as in, refrain from eating something for a certain amount of time. but, fasting is a whole other blog post that i hope to tackle soon. it is so misunderstood, in my opinion. anyway, today is the day before the fast to celebrate, enjoy life, seize the day, and party! it’s like an oxymoron. crazy indulgence today. mournful, somber awareness tomorrow.
here in sweden, fat tuesday/mardis gras is known as fettisdagen (fett=fat, tisdag=tuesday). for the same reasons, of course. it’s the last day of eating rich, yummy pastries before beginning the season of fasting. while people in the states usually eat pancakes & indulge in tons of kegs of beer & other party foods on mardi gras, things are much more tame here. most everyone makes their way to a bakery at some point during the day to buy the special pastry of fat tuesday: semla. it is a wheat pastry bread, with some almond paste (marzipan) inside, and whipped cream on top. the lid of the pastry has powdered sugar sprinkled on top. it’s delish! and actually, not too over-the-top sweet.
so, did i make it to the bakery? why, yes i did. after lunch, i walked one block to our neighborhood bakery & secured our semlor! (swedish lesson: one semla, two semlor. hehe.) i’d love to tell y’all an exciting story about how i had to fight & wait in line forever to get my 2 semlor, but it was actually pretty calm. there was a lady ordering 2 ahead of me, a lady behind me waiting to pick up her order (how many did she order?!), and a man carrying a box load to his car. i had no problems… walked right up there, placed my order, and scurried on out & back home, where our semlor are now waiting for us to enjoy them for a fika later this afternoon.
so, i guess i do know why i’m in a french state of mind… it’s mardi gras! enjoy something yummy today, dear readers! and check back tomorrow so we can share the beginning of an amazing, thoughtful journey together. a journey of remembering who we are, where we came from, where we are going. a journey of self-reflection & self-discovery…
for now, back to my french music & back to work.
intrigued? meet ya back here tomorrow. peace & celebrations!