Happy Monday and welcome to a week filled with celebrations.
Today of course marks the birthday of Abraham Lincon, born this date in 1809, in a log cabin on Sinking Springs Farm, just south of Hodgenville, Kentucky. Many folks have thought that Lincoln was born in Illinois, hence the Land of Lincoln moniker, but alas, he was not. It was not until March of 1830 that the Lincoln family arrived in Illinois. As the 16th president, Mr. Lincoln is recognized as one of America’s greatest leaders, guiding us through some very troubled times. Happy Birthday, Mr. President.
Tomorrow is Fat Tuesday, or as I used to call it ‘Tuesday’ and Mardi Gras. It’s one of the most anticipated and historic times of the year in New Orleans and along the Gulf Coast. There are fabulous parades, delicious King Cakes and a host of other activities. It’s glitter, glitz and glam.
Mardi Gras is both a day and a season. The season, called Carnival, always begins on the 12th day after Christmas. The date is Jan. 6. Carnival ends on Mardi Gras, the French phrase for Fat Tuesday. That’s always the day before Ash Wednesday, which signifies the beginning of the Lenten season leading to Easter.
Ash Wednesday is the first day of Lent. Lent is the forty days (excluding Sundays) leading up to Easter. The number forty is significant as it refers to Jesus’ forty days in the desert prior to beginning his ministry of teaching.
On Ash Wednesday, many Christians, regardless of denomination, receive ashes in the shape of a cross on their forehead or sprinkled on top of their head. They serve as a symbol for penance, which is appropriate as Lent is a season of that raises awareness of man’s sinful nature and the sacrifice that Jesus paid on the cross.
Tomorrow is also Valentine’s Day, the day of love wherein fat, cute little Cupid hovers above unsuspecting couples, flinging his love arrows here and there. I’ve pondered the question as to the success of the love arrows in regard to where they land on one’s body- the brain, the heart, the gall bladder. It seems in recent years, Cupid has either hit me in the butt or missed altogether. Stupid Cupid.
My first thought, when I discovered that Ash Wednesday and Valentine’s Day were on the same day was that this must not happen very often. And, big shock, I was right. The last time both of these days of celebration fell on the same day was in 2018. I don’t remember what I ate over the weekend, let alone what happened six years ago, so I have no recollection of that day. What is interesting is that prior to 2018, the last time both events fell on the same day was 1945. My parents weren’t even married in 1945.
For a bit of perspective, the number one song in America on Valentine’s Day, 1945, was the Andrew Sisters “Drinking Rum & Coca Cola” although there seems to be a debate on that point. It’s possible that Bing Crosby’s “Don’t Fence Me In” held the top of the charts position but either way, I think you get my point. When was the last time you heard either of these songs.
And while not technically a day of celebration, this Sunday is the 66th running of the Daytona 500, NASCAR’s biggest race of the year which is ironically their first race of the year.
Have a terrific week everybody!
Jonathan Freeburg is an Ottawa transplant for the past two decades-plus and a regular contributor to 1430 WCMY Radio. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.