As many celebrate Holy Week which culminates with Easter Sunday, spiritual sentiments abound. Whether you celebrate Christ or bunnies, this is prime time for Christian religious expression and celebration. Easter leads the pack and enjoys immense awareness and popularity, however, there are other Christian religious events that are more obscure -- or at least their true meaning may be fuzzy for some...ok me.
If I were asked the meaning of the four celebrations below, I'd score a two out of four.
- The Friday one week before Easter Sunday commemorates the arrival of Jesus Christ into ancient Jerusalem. Palm branches were laid in the street as Christ humbly entered the city gates on the back of a donkey. Answer? Palm Sunday. Score one for me!
- On a recent business trip last month I noticed two restaurant patrons with black splotches on their foreheads. Distracted, I spent the better part of 15 minutes wondering why these people had black eye-shadow on their heads until my dinner companion, who clearly noticed my eyes shifting back and forth across the restaurant, explained that the "smudge" was actually a cross drawn in ash to symbolize the start of the Lent season. Answer? Ash Wednesday. Clearly, I missed this one.
- The 40-day period leading up to Easter Sunday is a time of reflection, drawing closer to God, and fasting on some item of importance (e.g. meat, sugar, etc.). Answer? Lent. I got this one right (and you should have too since I gave it away above).
- Each year, millions flock to New Orleans usually in January to enjoy various celebrations. No big reveal here, you've probably heard of Mardi Gras. What I didn't know is that Mardi Gras partying typically concludes on the Tuesday before the start of Lent (aka Ash Wednesday). The idea is to eat and drink what you can to prepare for Lent. Answer? Fat Tuesday. And here I thought it was just a place that sells frozen cocktails.
So there you have it, a quick primer on the religious events that lead up to resurrection Sunday. How did you do? Did you get all four correct?