This year the Orthodox Great Fast aka Great Lent begins on Monday, March 10, Clean Monday aka Pure Monday.  This week, Monday through Sunday, is Cheesefare Week, and last week was Meatfare Week.

During Meatfare, we eat-up any meat left in our houses, because we won’t have any more meat until Pascha, the Great Feast of Feasts, the Resurrection of the Lord.  This is where the carne in some Western countries’ Carneval aka Carnival comes from (as in chili con carne); the Western Church used to have similar Lenten fasting rules to Orthodoxy.  (That’s “flesh” as in meat, not as in sexual revelry!!)

During Cheesefare, we eat-up any dairy products left, same reason.  That is, milk, cheese, butter, anything from an animal’s udder.

(As usual, fasting rules tend to be lessened for the very young or old, or the sick, in consultation with your priest.)

However, I’m not aware of any Orthodox-influenced culture that ‘parties hardy’ all-out at this time like the well-known Mardi Gras or Carneval as in Brazil, Louisiana, or Quebec!  Though there is this! 😉

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