Sunday, April 5, 2020

Fat Tuesday brings out the merrymaking at St. Mary’s

Mardi Gras is a Christian holiday and most often associated in the U.S. with New Orleans. Since the mid-1700s, Mardi Gras has been celebrated openly, but not with all the parades and hoopla that we know today.
Also known as Carnival, it’s celebrated in many countries around the world on the day before the religious
season of Lent begins. It has also become known as “Fat Tuesday.”
Fat Tuesday?
Mardi is the French word for Tuesday, and gras means fat. The day before Ash Wednesday became known as Mardi Gras or Fat Tuesday in France.
But celebrating Mardi Gras doesn’t always require traveling south to New Orleans for some fun. Some students at St. Mary’s School in Owatonna proved that last
week when they threw a
Mardi Gras Marketplace at
Sacred Heart Parish Center
as their Lenten Service
project.
Preschool through sixth
grade students and families
enjoyed lots of fun activities.
Including pre-school, there
are 370 students attending
St. Mary’s. They were able
to purchase food items such
as cookie dough, puppy
chow, taco in a bag, cake
pops, homemade blizzards,
root beer floats and many
other choices. They also
 
took a turn at playing
Nintendo Switch, basketball
shooting, frosting cupcakes
and sucker pulls.
Stacey Ginskey, a
teacher at St. Mary’s,
coordinates the Mardi
Gras fun. “This is one of
the bigger events that the
students do in the school
year,” she said. The seventh
and eighth graders work
hard planning, promoting,
producing and selling their
items leading up to the
marketplace.
The idea behind the
fun, Ginskey says, is that
students are building up to
Ash Wednesday, the start of
the Lenten season. “During
the 40 days of Lent, a lot of
people give up sweets and
electronics,” she points out.
Traditionally, in the
days leading up to Lent,
merrymakers would binge
on all the rich, fatty foods–
meat, eggs, milk, lard and
cheese–that remained in
their homes, in anticipation
 
of several weeks of eating
only fish and different types
of fasting.
Seventh graders Carley
Dewitz, Isabella Schultz and
Maddy Reese got together
on the Saturday before the
event to make homemade
brownies. They turned
 
around and sold the brown-
ies at Mardi Gras. “We were
 
going to make Puppy Chow
at first, but then decided
brownies would be good,”
Reese said.
 
Asked to explain the meth-
od behind their madness,
 
Reese offered: “It’s the last
hurrah before you give up
something and fast for Lent.”
But it wasn’t just about
fun, games and of course,
food. The items varied in
cost from 50? to $2.50. Once
the money is all collected,
the students turn around
and donate it to a worthy
cause. This year they chose
to give their proceeds to
“We All Play,” which is a
miracle field and inclusive
playground for people with
special needs to put built
in Owatonna. St. Mary’s
expects to make a donation
of around $2,000.
Ginskey said it’s all about
 
community and the impor-
tance of service work at St.
 
Mary’s. “This is an entire
school effort,” she said.
Watch out New Orleans,
St. Mary’s in Owatonna is
in hot pursuit of taking over
the Mardi Gras celebrations.

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Steele County Times
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P.O. Box 247
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