Mardi Gras, or Fat Tuesday, is a festival celebrated by Roman Catholic countries and communities around the world on the Tuesday before Ash Wednesday, which marks the beginning of Lent. 

Elaborate parades, spectacular masked balls, and revelers dancing in the streets, along with plenty of food and drink are the hallmarks of Mardi Gras, especially in New Orleans.

Lent is the season of preparation for Easter. It starts on Ash Wednesday and ends on Easter, lasting for 40 days (not counting Sundays). We prepare for Easter by fasting and practicing spiritual discipline during this time - to reflect on His sacrifices. Basically, Lent is a time for "spring cleaning" our lives while giving thanks to God and strengthening our relationship with Him.

After talking and talking to my pastor about what to give up for Lent we decided I wouldn't give anything up but instead focus on strengthening myself with God. So for the next 40 days starting tomorrow I will be doing 40 lunges a day and while I am doing those I have agreed not to listen to music but instead focus on Bible verses about strength and endurance.

As for other people I know. My stepmom/aunt has given up eating out. So anything not baked or cooked in her kitchen or someone else's personal kitchen she will not be eating it. My dad is giving up chocolate. My cousin Lillian is giving up hot styling her hair. My friend Frankie is giving up music that isn't Christian. My pastor, who is Nintendo world champion (seriously), is giving up his Xboxes and Playstations.

One of my best friends, who is very open and very outgoing, is giving up spoons and forks. All he is going to use is chopsticks or his hands. He said that way when people look at his weird or ask he can tell them that he is giving up spoons and forks as an offering to Christ who gave up His life for others.

What are you giving up?

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