Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Happy Mardi Gras Y'all!

I'm typing this during my lunch break at the tower, so no long drawn-out missive today. But I couldn't let it pass without wishing everyone a happy Mardi Gras. As you might imagine, Mardi Gras isn't quite the big thing in L.A. that it is in New Orleans or Rio. The first most folks here at the tower heard about it was when I hit the top of the stairs wearing my beads. They all seemed okay with it though when the king cakes arrived (gotta have beads and king cake!)

For those who need a Mardi Gras primer, here goes: Mardi Gras (in French "fat Tuesday") or Carnival is the celebration running up to Ash Wednesday, which is the beginning of Lent. In New Orleans, where I learned my Mardi Gras lore,
the Mardi Gras season begins on Twelfth Night, or the Feast of the Epiphany, which is January 6th (this is the twelfth of the twelve days of Christmas in the carol - Many people don't realize that the twelve days of Christmas are after Christmas Day, not leading up to it like an advent calendar). Fat Tuesday itself is always the day before Ash Wednesday, which is in turn forty-six days (forty if you don't count the Sundays) before Easter, which is in turn the first Sunday after the first full moon after March 20th. Thus, the date of Mardi Gras moves each year just as the date of Easter does, and can be as early as the third of February or as late as the ninth of March. The king cake is ring-shaped (like a king's crown), and is in honor of the three wise men in the tale of the baby Jesus. That's also the origination of the baby in the cake, although in some cultures a bean is used instead. The tradition says that whoever gets the baby in the cake has to host the next celebration (in other words, provide the next cake). The traditional colors of purple, green, and gold respectively represent Justice, Faith, and Power. I was going to show you the cake, but . . .

I didn't think to get a picture of it before taking it upstairs, and food of this sort in the tower cab has no chance of approaching its 'sell by' date. So instead, here's the box it came in, all the way from Louisiana:

In other so-called 'news', the Oscars ceremony was this past weekend. While I didn't go, and in fact don't even know who did, I did get a shot of one of the full FBO ramps. Lotsa heavy iron in town:

Post script: The calculation of the date of Easter is known as computus, and is actually some what more involved than my abbreviated explanation above. For more, you might see this Wikipedia article.

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