This year, for some inexplicable reason, I’ve decided to give up meat for Lent, or, as the Czechs call it, pust. It’s not for religious reasons – I’m not even Catholic – but I was curious as to why the tradition remains; like many things in Christianity, it probably has pagan roots anyway.

Of course, all this has nothing to do with the growing resemblance between myself and Porcel, the bawdy Mexican comedian I used to stumble across while channel-surfing back in California.

I’m curious to find out the reasons for a 40-odd day bout of vegetarianism every year, in the runup to the spring. Is it really to be in good shape for spring and summer? Is it because you couldn’t get good meat at this time of year?

I have a theory about life: You have to have a balance of pleasures. If you take a pleasure away, you have to replace it another one.

One of the nicer things, then, is auditioning for the pleasure that’s going to replace a well-grilled steak, vepÅ™ové koleno, or even a McRoyal se sýrem.

2 thoughts on “Masopust

  1. I got in a discussion about this somewhere recently and somebody brought up the point that these days, a lot of Catholics *add* something to their lives (community service, etc.) rather than give something up for lent. Since the concept of lent isn’t mentioned in the bible, it seems like the big guy has got to be OK with making it a D.I.Y. kind of thing as long as your heart is in the right place.

  2. If the concept of Lent isn’t in the bible, then it’s probably got pagan roots.

    It’s also interesting that it falls pretty squarely with the second half of astronomical winter; Fat Tuesday (28 February) kind of corresponds to winter’s halfway point (2 February), apparently called Imbolog by the Celts or Candlemas by early Christians, and then Easter (14 April) is in the ballpark with the vernal equinox (20 March 2006).

    So if it is a pagan tradition, it’s an interesting one. I’m just not sure what the connection is between restricting the intake of animal fat and protein and the time of the year is. I guess there’s only one way to find out…

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