As we plan to spend the entirety of this month fasting, it might look like we won't be celebrating anything. However, that couldn't be further from the truth. Here are 4 ways to celebrate the feasts and observe the season of Lent this March.
First, what can you do to observe the season of Lent? Well, do you know where pretzels come from? When the Lent fast was more stringent and included abstinence from dairy products, pretzels were created by a monk as bread specifically for Lent. Even their shape dates back to their beginning. The crossed ends of the pretzel replicate the prayer posture of the day, arms crossed over the chest, and the three spaces represented the Trinity. Connect with Catholics through the ages by including soft pretzels in your fast.
On the fourth Friday of Lent, March 12, in Oaxaca City, the people of Oaxaca hand out agua frescas, or flavored water, and ice cream in celebration of the Samaritan woman who met Jesus at the well. The most popular agua fresca flavors are horchata (based on rice and taste like rice pudding) and jamaica (made with red hibiscus flowers). Celebrating in your home might be a small celebration compared to Oaxaca but a refreshing drink with your family might make Dia de la Samaritana a special part of your Lent.
The feast of St. Joseph, March 19, is a well celebrated feast in Italy. It beautifully blends the celebratory feeling of a feast with the spirit of Lent. A meatless dish like pasta con sarde is served. On a St. Joseph’s Table, an image of St. Joseph is placed and surrounded with flowers. Food, especially bread, (no meat or dairy) is then put on the table to share with guests, loved ones, and the poor.
With the feast of St. Patrick just two days before, it can be a fairly busy week.
On March 25, the feast of the Annunciation, it is time for waffles. This Swedish tradition stems from the words Vaffelsdagen (Waffle Day) and Vårfrudagen (Our Lady's Day) being so similar. (In Germany, Maundy Thursday became known as Green Thursday the same way.) In addition to waffles, Marian feasts are always celebrated with fresh fruit. Whether you include fruit as a side or a topping, you’ll be creating a delicious and traditional meal.
It isn't long after celebrating the Annunciation that we enter into Holy Week.