Ash Dash

Ash Wednesday service at our church is typically  very well attended, many folks going who only go to church a couple of times a year.  In accordance with Covid protocols, there is only a live stream of the service with no attendees. What, oh what about the imposition of ashes?

Our pastors are traveling around town today at various venues applying ashes to foreheads and reminding us we are dust and to to dust we shall return.   I told our pastors they were  no different than Door Dash delivery persons this year.  They laughed, and regretted the cold weather.  A high school buddy of mine, Mary Jo, now senior pastor at  First  Presbyterian Church in Fargo,   is smudging people in their cars  as they drive up into the church parking lot.

Mardi Gras was a bust in New Orleans this year,  but I admire those who decorated their homes to emulate parade floats. I like the idea of Mardi Gras lights instead Christmas lights. Husband says we would have a demon cat with horns,  along with trees,  flowers,  and vegetable plants in our driveway.

How did your family acknowledge Lent?  Ever been to New Orleans during Mardi Gras? How would you decorate your house as a float?

19 thoughts on “Ash Dash”

  1. I love the image of drive-by smudgings. YA and I don’t celebrate Lent: It wasn’t a practice that I learned as a child and so don’t really have anything to carry through to adulthood. However after watching Nadiya on Nadiya Bakes yesterday (serious binge watching), I am really thinking about making a King Cake. I’m not sure where to get the little baby though to put inside.

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  2. My family barely registered lent, except for going to church, which was Presbyterian – and I don’t recall getting the smudge of ash. Just looked this up, and it appears the Presbyterians are starting to rethink this, and, as one source puts it “we’ve begun to kind of recover Ash Wednesday as part of our worship life”. Husband, growing up Catholic, had more of a relationship to Lent… will ask him when he returns.

    My house is gray and already has a bright yellow door, so maybe a bumblebee motif of some kind.

    I’d love to go to NE for Mardi Gras some time…

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  3. The father of one of my colleagues was a heavy drinker who made a big deal about abstaining from alcohol during Lent, except for Sundays during Lent, which don’t seem to count. He and his buddies would get blitzed evey Sunday after mass.

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  4. lent was a big deal when i was a kid
    candles leading up to easter
    giving up candy or something for a month but like many other recovering catholic malodies my kids aren’t even aware
    i love new orleans and love being there during maris gras but if you’ve seen one you’ve seen them both so a pocket full of beads and a taste for a good alcoholic companion are all you need
    last time i i was there solo during a trade show and it was a blast. i seem to know exactly what i like to do
    decorating my house
    a voodoo devil head covering the chimney with smoke coming out the top would be my choice

    i was born on ash wednesday
    full of woe? i believe

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  5. Rise and Shine Baboons,

    Lent in the EUB then United Methodist Church was a non-event. All of the Catholic and Lutheran ritual and ceremony around this season was the stuff of mystery and rumors of idol worship. Kids of those faiths would give up something like chocolate and eat fish on Friday. What happened in my peer group regarding chocolate and fish was of far more interest than anything occurring at church or at home. Plus, the thought of having to give up chocolate was just unbearable. The line in my church was that Jesus did all of that sacrificing, so we did not have to do it.

    Therefore, I have little history or interest in these traditions. Easter is also not my holiday.

    Liked by 3 people

  6. Four years in a Catholic boarding school gave me the full lent experience, complete with abstinence from something you held dear, and the Ash Wednesday smudging. At home, it was a non-event. In retrospect, I think mom’s grasp on the significance of the various Catholics traditions was pretty rudimentary. She knew Catholics had certain rituals at various religious holidays, but I don’t think she knew what they signified.

    The closest I’ve been to the Mardi Gras experience in New Orleans (I imagine), was the Basler Fasnacht celebration I participated in fifty-nine years ago. Back then it was great fun, and I loved every minute of it. Nowadays I wouldn’t be able to party for three days straight.

    I have no ambition to attend Mardi Gras in New Orleans at this stage of my life, but years ago it would, no doubt, have been fun. As it is, I consider myself lucky to have at least visited New Orleans, and spent a few days there.

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  7. My parents, nominal Christians, had no interest in religion. I grew up profoundly ignorant of what it means to be Catholic, Jewish or Muslim. Before I went to college, “lent” was just the past tense of the verb “to loan.”

    My only taste of New Orleans was a three-day trip just before Christmas of 1989. I was amazed and beguiled. New Orleans is the most exotic city in the US and the only city that could have produced the music and food that made it famous. I know it now as the city that gave birth to the band I love so much.

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  8. I don’t recall doing anything special for Lent when I was a kid. It seems like something Mom and Dad would have encouraged… maybe she did and I whined about it. And being the youngest I could get away with stuff.
    Friend of mine here at the college smoked cigars. He always made a big deal of giving them up for Lent. I would tease him he should give them up permanently. And all his equipment still stunk like cigars.

    One day I remember pointing out to a friend he had something smudged on his forehead. Oops. Yeah, ashes… awkward…

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    1. Larry Hendrickson, one of the founding fathers of the first CPA firm I worked for, was a sweet old man who smoked cigars constantly. Every other year he bought himself a new Cadillac, and offered his old one to staff for next to nothing. I don’t think any of us ever took him up on the deal because we all knew full well that we’d never be able to rid ourselves of the cigar smoke that had permeated everything in the car.

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  9. Growing up, my church had an Ash Wednesday service but I don’t remember getting smudged with ashes. My current church has a lovely Ash Wednesday service along with making the sign of the cross on each other’s foreheads. Three parishioners talk about some life experience based on the Lenten theme – this year it is about finding the light (based on Amanda Gorman’s inaugural poem. Of course, this year’s service was virtual with only the priest and speakers present. And there were no ashes. I consider myself more spiritual than religious but this service is really touching and I miss being with the community.

    I have never been to New Orleans and don’t have a big desire to visit it – and especially not at Mardi Gras (shudder).

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