Today is Fat Tuesday aka Shrove Tuesday aka Mardi Gras, etc. It is the day before the celebration of Lent begins. This is the day to "indulge" before sacrificing something in preparation of Christ's ultimate sacrifice for us on the cross. Growing up in the evangelical church I honestly did not know much about Lent. We were not told/asked/forced to give up something in preparation for Easter. In fact, the only reason I really knew that Easter was approaching was because my birthday often fell around that time, there was usually a spring break from school, and our family had a wonderful egg hunt tradition. Palm Sunday was the only day in addition to Easter Sunday that I was vaguely aware of. As I got older I remember running into people that gave up something for Lent, but I still had no clue what it had to do with Easter. And living in Wisconsin Friday night Fish Fry is a year round tradition, although I did go out for a fish fry once during Lent and was shocked at how many people were at the restaurant. We also went out for steak once during Lent and the place, which was usually packed, was fairly empty. It wasn't until Ryan and I had our first child that we realized we wanted to make sure we did something to recognize and prepare ourselves and our family for the coming celebration.
A few years ago I found a Family Study for Lent by MaryJane Pierce Norton. I'm not sure if she comes up with a new one every year, but I could not find a link to the original study I found (at least two years ago). Here, however, is one for 2012. I do, like her idea of "adding in" instead of taking away. For the past two years we have taken away sweets - except for Sundays, which are celebration days. Unfortunately on those Sundays we tended to overindulge. And although removing sweets from our lives again this year could be beneficial to us, the thought of removing TV and replacing it with something better appeals to me. Tomorrow we will make a list and each person will decide what they will "add in" to their lives in place of TV. What can you "add in" to your life this Lent? Removing something to make room for something better!
Other blog resources for Lent:
A Holy Experience
Money Saving Mom
Faith & Family Live
From the Sheep Fold
A Seed Inspired
Other ideas I have come across in the past few years...
- Shrove Tuesday - eat pancakes/crepes, shriving means confession
- Ash Wednesday - beginning of Lenten period (40 days + 6 Sabbaths), Sundays are not fasting days, but little celebrations of the joy of resurrection - thus excluded from Lent
- Make a table centerpiece, purple table cloth/runner, cross, pot with seeds planted (that should sprout by Easter)
- Decorate a jar to keep the money you would have spent on the item you have given up for Lent and use that money to donate to something after Lent is through
- Lent = an abbreviation of Lenten = the "lengthen"ing of days from winter to spring - Look for firsts of Spring, go for walks and find signs of spring
- Make or eat pretzels - little arms crossed over chest (praying)
- Celebrate the Passover Seder
- Reenact the days before Passover - the 10 plagues
- Easter Story (Morning) Recipes
- Fly a kite as a symbol of Christ's Resurrection
- Decorate with Easter Lilies on Easter morning
- Caterpillar to Butterfly - symbol of Christ's Resurrection
- Decorate Easter Eggs - another symbol of Christ's Resurrection
Do you have any Easter/Lent traditions that are family friendly? Please share!