Mardi Gras! From New Orleans to Rio, the carnival is here. Yay! Well, maybe not everywhere as you can see from the photographs.
Well those two old men might be planning something wild for later on, who knows. The two crows look like fun-lovers too Come to think of it. That pigeon is wise in flying off – who knows what would have happened to it if it had carried on hanging out on that roof.
Apart from them, there really is no sign of Carnival here.
Not even at the doctor’s surgery where I went to give an armful of blood.
Maybe the loss of blood has made me light headed.
Should I put a bunch of bananas on my head, find a trumpet and go out there onto the streets and whip up some energy?
Maybe not…I am living just a bit too near to the police station.
It was the wise old Roman Catholic Church that decided long ago that if you can’t beat something then just join it. If only they had such a fun-loving spirit these days.
The church didn’t like pagan festivals. Well you can see the point. How can you support rituals that involve all sorts of wakey and wild gods when you are trying to get people to go along with a very sensible and grown up one.
One of the most dangerous of these festivals was Lupercalia when lusty Romans celebrated the joys of the flesh in an even more uninhibited way than you would even see today in a Roman nightclub.
They were celebrating all kinds of things really – it was the feast day for one of their gods, the one who had an unendingly adventurous sexuality. It was also a time to welcome in the Spring and, let’s face, it was just a time to let rip, take your shirt or bra off and have a few drinks.
The church thought that action was needed so Mardi Gras was invented – the day that you could revel and have fun whilst our moral advisers turned a blind eye. Well done Roman Catholic church, we could do with a lot more days like this.
The downside of the Catholic Mardi Gras is that it comes the day before Lent – yawn – when we have to give up all the fun, eat very boring food, drink water or weak tea, and put our clothes back on. Not only for a day either – forty of them. No wonder it has lost its appeal with the partying set.
So Carnival has caught on and is now definitely a whole lot more popular than Lent. The word Carnival comes, yet again, from the Latin: Carnis levamen, solace of the flesh.
So,you Lenten lovers out there, walking by my windows, if you are going to observe all the fasting that is coming up – recession, unemployment and house repossession, make the most of today.
In New Orleans and Rio, bring out the jazz and samba bands, men in tights, women in less and have a whale of a time.
And, here in Britain, join in the fun too.
Toss a pancake. Yea, right.