Friday, February 24, 2012

Put away the's time for Lent...

The word Carnaval comes from the Latin word carneval which means to put away the meat. Carnaval is a festive season, immediately before Lent, traditionally held in Catholic and, to a lesser extent, Eastern Orthodox societies. During Lent, these societies do not eat meat, giving the time of Carnaval it’s name (when you actually "put away" as much meat as you can into your bellies before it is time to give it up). Protestant areas usually do not have Carnaval celebrations or they have modified traditions, such as the Danish Carnival or other Shrove Tuesday events. In New Orleans it is well known as Mardi Gras.

Children playing with water, eggs, flour, foam and car oil are just some of the things you will see in Shell during Carnaval. The practice of throwing or dumping water, eggs, flour or smearing car oil on unsuspecting victims is especially revered by children and teenagers, and feared by most adults.
There are parades in Puyo and small concerts at the Dique in Shell to celebrate Carnaval. The Monday and Tuesday before Ash Wednesday (the days known as Carnaval) are vacation days from work.
Pre-Muddy Water

The last three years, as a part of school, the kids participated in their own Carnaval activities. Egg races, egg toss, bobbing for apples (this year bananas), obstacle courses, and water fights. Every year it is a lot of fun seeing the kids race through all the games trying to get their teachers back for all the school work that has been given them. Unfortunately, the kids are getting bigger this year and I was helpless as they picked me up and carried me to a big muddy hole in the ground and threw me into the water. Anything on me that was white had most definitely turned to brown.

Begining the Obstacle Race
Trying to climb through the tires as fast as they coul to reach the end!

Bobbing for Bananas
Friday was such a fun day of games. However, I think that my favorite part about Carnaval this year was the Wednesday after. When we got together for Chapel in the morning, Marcela (our school director) explained to us all what Carnaval was: where it came from, what it meant, why people celebrate it. It is said that the purpose of Carnaval is to have as much fun (or in some cases sin as much) as you can before you have to be “good” during Lent, a time that you work really hard on your relationship with God. Marcela reminded us that we shouldn’t only work hard at becoming closer to God during the 40 days of Lent, but all year long. Some people spend 325 days not even thinking about God and 40 days of “behaving” themselves. They are “good” for those 40 days and then go back to the way they were living before, unchanged. The same as Christmas, we should remember Christ’s birth all year, not only at Christmas time. For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son; every day, for us to talk to, for us to confide in, to trust in, to love, to worship, to listen to, and follow. Every day, not just 40 days out of the year or 41 including Christmas. It doesn’t mean that our lives have to be boring. Following Christ, by all means, is not boring, but the most exciting, life-changing thing that has happened to me. Look what he has blessed me with!

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