NORWAY — The members and friends of the Second Congregational Church, UCC, Norway, Maine, are excitedly preparing for a fun and festive Mardi Gras-Pancake Day celebration on Tuesday, February 25, 2020 at 5:30 p.m.  They will be serving pancakes, sausage, eggs, fruit, juice, and coffee.  The meal is free to children under 5-years-old.  Children from 5-12 years are $5/per meal.  Adults are $8/per meal.  In addition to a pancake supper, there will be entertainment and live music.  All are welcome to celebrate Mardi Gras-Pancake day.  This is a fundraiser for the many missions of our community church.
Mardi Gras, from the French for “Fat Tuesday,” is a century’s old practice of eating rich and fatty foods before the fasting of the Lenten season.  For many, Mardi Gras evokes images of parades, floats, beads, and jazz music in New Orleans, Louisiana.  Revelers often wear costumes or at least dress in purple, green, and gold.  The colors are symbolic:   Since 1872, purple represents justice. Green represents faith. And gold represents power.
Mardi Gras, in the English tradition, is known as Pancake Day-Shrove Tuesday.  Pancake Day, is again the feast day before the start of Lent on Ash Wednesday.  In a tradition, dating back to before 1445, a bell would be rung to call people to confession and then the fasting of Lent.  This came to be called the “Pancake Bell.”   Shrove Tuesday, before the “Pancake Bell”, was the last opportunity to use up eggs and fats before embarking on the Lenten fast. Pancakes were the perfect way of using up these ingredients.  Today, in the UK, pancake races form an important part of the Shrove Tuesday celebrations: large numbers of people, often in fancy dress, race down streets tossing pancakes.  Like the Mardi Gras colors, the ingredients for pancakes are symbolic: Eggs ~ Creation, Flour ~ The staff of life, Salt ~ Wholesomeness, Milk ~ Purity.
In melding the French and English traditions at the Second Congregational Church, there will be pancakes, rich and fatty foods.  Costumes, beads, and feathers are encouraged.  We hope to see pirates and princes. There will be live jazz music.  We doubt that you will see a parade with floats or folks running through the street of Norway with frying pans and pancakes.  But, you never know!  We do plan to have the youth of the church ring the “Pancake Bell,” at the close of Pancake Day celebrations.

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