With Shrove Tuesday in the books, it means today is Ash Wednesday, the first official day of the Christian festival of Lent.
This is the time between now and Easter when the faithful forgo luxuries and treats in solidarity with the sacrifices that Christ made in isolation before his crucifixion. He lived in a desert, we ban dessert. It’s the same.
Nowadays, like every religious holiday in existence, the original meaning of Shrove Tuesday and Lent has become lost.
In the past, Shrove Tuesday marked the time when Christians would get in one last delicious meal before embarking on a forced sugar detox – just like Gwyneth Paltrow but less blindly dogmatic.
These days, however, Shrove Tuesday is a time when everyone on Instagram feels compelled to cook and then artfully photograph the most unnecessarily complex and pretty looking Nutella and honey pancakes the world has ever seen, so they can feel validated. You know, just like the Early Christians.
This year, being a lapsed Irish Catholic and by default having grown up inundated with more Catholic dogma than you could shake a globus cruciger at, I decided to forgo the usual farce of pretending to give up chocolate and instead decided to give up an actual crutch – being a smugly superior, sneering atheist.
That’s right, I’m going to get medieval, on my own ass.
I figure the best way to do this is to spend the next six weeks until Easter legitimately trying to be a good Catholic to see if such a thing is still possible in the increasingly secular Ireland of today.
I’ll attempt to do this by following the decrees and teachings of the Catholic faith as closely as possible to see both if it can be done and if it makes me any happier or more religious.
Plus, in the 0.0000000000000001% chance that the whole God thing is real then I’m totally sorted for heaven.
So, for the duration of the Lenten festival, I’ll be attempting to save my mortal soul by forgoing those things which the Bible classes as mortal sins and are punishable by the totally measured response of stoning and eternal damnation.
That means no masturbation, no worshipping false idols (sorry Cantona), no wearing clothing made from two types of material (double denim all the way), no cursing (fuck), no eating fish on a Friday (bad news for Wetherspoons) and, finally, no cigarettes, no alcohol and definitely no rollerblading.
So wish me luck, or better yet, light me a candle and say a prayer, I’ll need it….