Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Fastnacht - Pancake Tuesday

Well, vale to carne for the next 40 days!

We had a feast of corned beef for dinner, followed by the obligatory pancake, and concluded with Compline. (I still have to say the Office of Readings before midnight comes and with it Lent.) I have been shriven previously, recently... Such a pity that the French term "Mardi Gras" (Fat Tuesday, signifying the last day to eat up foods once forbidden in Lent) has taken on the unhealthy connotation in Australia of the Sydney immoralists' parade.

It struck me today how disconnected we are in the Southern Hemisphere from the European connexion of the natural and supernatural seasonal cycles. The very word "Lent" derives from the old term for Spring, referring to the lengthening of the days as Summer approaches, but here in Australia the opposite is true. In other languages the word for Lent carries different connotations: τεσσαρακοστη in Greek, meaning the "fortieth" [day] before Easter, which was translated into Latin as "quadragesima", and then evolved into Italian (quaresima), Spanish (cuaresma), French (carême), etc.; or the very emphatic German term "Fastenzeit" - "fasting time".

Tomorrow even brings with it another Missa Cantata: 6.30pm at the Pro.

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