Ash Wednesday….You might hear some of these questions over the next day or two:
“Mommy, what is Ash Wednesday”? Or ” Daddy, where do the ashes come from and why do they put them on my forehead”?
Those are all good questions and if you have little ones in your household, the following answers might come in handy!
Ash Wednesday marks the first day of Lent celebrated by Christians (especially Catholics) worldwide. Lent is a season of spiritual discipline, cleansing, and fasting. This ritual is blessed with a passage from the Bible Genesis 3:19: “for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return.” The ashes symbolize repentance and purification. On Ash Wednesday, a priest or pastor marks a cross on the forehead of church members. The ashes are obtained from the burned palms used in the previous year’s Palm Sunday celebration.
If your family observes religious holidays, include your children in the family’s observation of this first day of Lent. Teachers at Christian and parochial schools can use these ideas for their classroom activities on Ash Wednesday. Here’s how to observe Ash Wednesday for Children.
1. Take the children to an Ash Wednesday Mass or service. Ahead of time, explain to them about the tradition of receiving ashes on one’s forehead. Children may receive ashes along with the adults at the proper time.
2. Lead children in a craft or coloring activity with a an Ash Wednesday theme. Use printable coloring sheets with Lenten
symbols, or have them draw their interpretation of the Ash Wednesday observance. http://www.coloringbookfun.com/
3. Encourage children to “give up” something for Lent. Ideas include TV time, candy, or dessert.
4. Help children choose a virtue to work on during Lent. They can practice charity by not fighting with siblings and classmates, obedience by not talking back to their parents, and honesty by telling the truth.
What is Mardi Gras and is it for kids?
Fat Tuesday….Mardi Gras, also known as Shrove Tuesday, Carnival, and even Pancake Day (click this link for cute coloring pages) in the UK, is an annual festival which will be celebrated on 8th March in 2011. Falling just before Lent, it traditionally marks the last opportunity for fun and feasting on indulgent foods (fats) before 40 days of “self-denial”. Mardi Gras means “Fat Tuesday” in French.
Festivities begin at the beginning of February, leading up to Mardi Gras day, and consist of parades, dancing in the street, costumes and masked balls. The modern Carnival tradition developed in Europe in the Middle ages, and is celebrated mainly in Roman Catholic communities in Europe and the Americas today. Some of the most famous celebrations are held in Nice (France), Cologne (Germany), Rio de Janeiro (Brazil) and New Orleans (USA)
How can kids celebrate Mardi Gras?
Since most of the traditional activities are definitely adult oriented you might think that the kids are excluded. Not so. Here are some ideas for getting children involved in this celebration. This just might open up a conversation about why Fat Tuesday is a holiday and the meaning of Lent that follows.
1. Print free Coloring pages that include costumes, beads, king cake, pancakes and celebrations
2. Buy or bake a King Cake together.
Image via Wikipedia
Parents cut cake in 2 inch slices and be careful to monitor smaller children as there is a small plastic “baby” inside.
3. Create and decorate masquerade masks and wear them in honor of Fat Tuesday
4. Learn some French words and their meaning like Mardi Gras
5. Play Dixieland Jazz or Cajun music to set the stage for your Mardi Gras party. Talk about how jazz is an integral part of New Orleans heritage
6. Bake Fleur-de-lis cookies. Decorate them with yellow, purple and green tinted sugar to match the Mardi-Gras theme. This is a good idea for kids that are too small to handle the “baby” in the cake issue.
7. Give away beaded necklaces. Get them a party store and use them as prizes for your game winners.
Whatever you do to celebrate Fat Tueday…do it together. We need to spend meaningful time with our kids, after all we are raising our grandchildren’s parents…think about it!
Read more: The Meaning of Fat Tuesday | eHow.co.uk http://www.ehow.co.uk/about_6670718_meaning-fat-tuesday.html#ixzz1FZrYfcSI