25 February 2009

Thurman sez...

Check out the nice comment Thurman gave me yesterday at Random Abstractions "Is Anyone Else Having Trouble Posting Comments?"

Mardi Gras Should be the New, New Year's Eve

Oh come on, let's face it, very few people keep their New Year's resolutions. By the time January 20th rolls around, many people have abandoned the ridiculous attempts to keep in line with those resolutions. Making New Year right in the dead center of the Dark Days needs rethinking.

Traditionally, the winter was a time for rest. When we lived in a more tribal time in tune with Earth, the dark cold winter days and nights sent us indoors. The ground and animals rested. We rested until the light of day grew longer then we emerged like sleepy hungry bears ready to begin the cycle again.

The Dark Days begin after Halloween when, suddenly, the days are markedly shorter. That's when the debauchery begins with the feasting of candy on Halloween. Next we move into the gluttony of Thanksgiving which marks the beginning of the holiday season, and for another month, we spend our time gorging.

By New Years, we may be ready for a change. So we try to set resolutions in motion, but our cell memory of a different time is still too strong. Many of us fail.

Mardi Gras happens anywhere from the middle of February to the middle of March depending on where Easter falls in any given year, and the parties begin about three weeks before the actual day of Fat Tuesday. Around Groundhog Day, February 2, the days are markedly longer.

When the days grow longer and Spring emerges, a new sense of renewal arises. We could mark New Year at Groundhog Day, but even sometimes the groundhog is too sleepy to admit that Spring is encroaching. Besides, at that point, Mardi Gras celebrations are beginning. Many of us just aren't ready to let go of the Dark Days.

Mardi Gras is a time of full on debauchery. Having lived in New Orleans for two years, I can attest to this from first hand experience. It is a time to truly get it all out of your system. It is one last gluttonous blow-out before the season of Lent begins. For those of you who may not be familiar with it, Lent marks the 40 days before Easter, not counting Sundays for reasons listed on Wikipedia, of which I don't recall learning. I can't speak for other faiths, but Catholics, who started it all, have to give something up, abstain, for those 40 days before Easter. I was always taught that it was to show God how much we revered Him. It's also supposedly to represent the 40 days Jesus spent in the desert fighting of the temptations of the devil.

But I'm not here to try and find or give an opinion on the true history of Lent. I could care less.

What I am saying is that the start of lent, after a season of rest and or debauchery ending in the big bang of Mardi Gras marks a much more sensible time to begin resolutions. Seasonal depressions lift as the days grow longer. Longer days mean that it will soon be warming up which makes it a hell of a lot nicer to go outside and get out of the cave. In the natural world, everything is changing. It's a good time for us to make changes, too.

That's my intuitive opinion.

As always, thanks for reading.