Here is another thing I like about the Episcopalians: they have extra holidays. In general, they are much more observant of the Christian year than we were in the Methodist church. One Sunday, the preacher asked the congregation to name the seasons of the Christian year. I was stumped. Is this like saying Autumn instead of Fall? No, as it turns out there are seasons! The good little Episcopalians in the pews listed them off. I had heard of them. In fact, I remember seeing something like "Fifth Sunday After Pentecost" in the bulletins at the tiny Methodist church where I was raised, and I never knew what it was about.
Aside from learning about the seasons, we've also been learning new customs and celebrations. For example, on January 6 (Epiphany, end of Christmas season), we chalked the door. During the children's sermon, the preacher had the kids take some chalk and write some symbols on the door frame. It's sort of a blessing on everyone that comes through that door. We liked the idea, so we did it at home, too. Except that we couldn't find any chalk at 3 stores on the way home from church, so we used a pencil instead. And we ask that all burglars use the back door, because they don't get blessed.
In case there are any other uninformed Methodists out there, today is Shrove Tuesday. That name cames from the word "shrive," which means to confess. Shrove Tuesday comes before Ash Wednesday, when Lent starts. We also call it Mardi Gras. In England, they call it Pancake Tuesday, because everyone eats pancakes. Why pancakes? Because you gotta use up all the milk and eggs and butter before Lent, when you're not supposed to eat anything too delicious. There are even pancake races, where people run down the street with their skillets, flipping their hot cakes. Apparently, there is a very heated annual race between their elected representatives.
See? This is a great holiday. Way better than exposing yourself for plastic beads.
Because the Episcopal church is an offshoot of the Anglican church, we also have Pancake Tuesday. Or maybe that's just our church, because they like holidays and pancakes. This year, they expanded it to include some New Orleans cooking, because who doesn't like jambalaya with their pancakes? There were sign-up sheets at church, where people could pick up a recipe to make for the taste of Louisiana. We signed up for the crock pot jambalaya and were excited about making it until we went to the grocery store to pick up the andouille and shrimp and got Shrove Shticker Shock. I think next year, I'll sign up for the red beans and rice.
Happy Shrove Tuesday!