Monday, February 12, 2018

Diametrically Opposed Holidays - Now What?

Doubtless you have already heard that this Wednesday is Valentine's Day!  We, of course, have learned of this momentous day via the tsunami of ads for chocolates and flower bouquets.  If I were a rose I would be under the (flower) bed.  There is a bounty on them.  It is a day that promotes excess:  lavish boxes of chocolates, lashings of champagne, masses of flowers... all desirable things unless you have floral allergies.

But, hark!  What is this?  Wednesday is also Ash Wednesday, a day of regrets, penance and getting your faced dirtied up to point out to passers-by that you are a good Catholic.  It is the exact opposite of Valentine's indulgences.  In fact, Ash Wednesday heralds six weeks of fasting on Fridays.  Meat, other than seafood, is not allowed on those Fridays.  This is not a hardship in some circles because who doesn't like shrimp, crab and (pause to wipe salivating mouth) lobster with lemon juice and drawn butter?    Few no doubt and certainly not me.

But:  how can a good Catholic and a good sensualist share a holiday?  One Bishop Richard Malone, of Suffolk, NY, has proposed moving Valentine's Day festivities backwards to Mardi Gras and giving the ashes that Wednesday.

Well, the good bishop does make a point in that the best we could do to celebrate is to get off work early to go ash-ing and then just go home and run a load of laundry or do something you don't have time to do on the weekend.   A mid-week blowout quite frequently results in a sick call in to work the next morning.  That is if you celebrate with the proper gusto.  

Valentine's has been covered handily for years.  We learned the hard way not to go out to dinner on Valentine's.  The servers were so stacked up with customers they very nearly cut our food and shoved it down our throats.  Not restful and certainly not celebratory.

Instead we will go out to dinner Thursday as we usually do.  It's never as busy in a restaurant then as it is on a Friday or Saturday.   And certainly not Valentine's!

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