I’ll be celebrating one of my favorite holidays Saturday. But it definitely isn’t Valentine’s Day. With Fat Tuesday quickly approaching, my weekend will be filled with green, purple and gold, rather than red and pink.
While most girls will be eating chocolate and receiving stuffed bears, I’ll be eating king cake and receiving feather boas as I celebrate Mardi Gras in St. Louis.
I understand that Valentine was a saint, and I’m not trying to take anything away from his holiday. I just don’t understand how anyone would prioritize it higher than Mardi Gras.
I’m a cradle-Catholic, and I went to Catholic school for 13 years of my life. So while I can appreciate Valentine’s sainthood, I appreciate the gluttony of Mardi Gras as we prepare for Lent even more.
I’m also not trying to take away from St. Valentine’s legitimacy, but I recently became aware that in 1969 the Roman Catholic Church removed his name from the secular Roman calendar because so little is known of him, leaving his liturgical celebration to local calendars. Mardi Gras’ origins have been traced back to medieval Europe, and its legitimacy has never been questioned – at least not by anyone who likes to have a good time.
While most college girls are holding unrealistic expectations for their significant others to fulfill on Saturday only to be undoubtedly let down, I’ll be pleasantly surprised by any trinkets thrown to me at the parade. (One commonly thrown item at Mardi Gras parades is stuffed animals, so try not to be jealous if I get a cooler plush than your $99 giant Teddy bear.)
As I prepare to abstain from meat on Fridays in Lent, why wouldn’t I celebrate eating whatever I want and partying like there’s no tomorrow? Am I really going to waste my day waiting for a suitor to take me on a date, when I can take to the jam-packed streets of a city and meet new people?
When you return to school on Monday with your angry stories about how your boyfriend didn’t buy you the right box of chocolates or bought you yellow roses instead of pink, I’ll be returning to school with a new collection of beads and fun stories about unnamed strangers in masks.
As you shop for the perfect date night outfit, I’ll be cozy in a scarf and beanie, warmed by the crowds of people in the streets watching as the floats go by.
Some might consider it a shame that so many Mardi Gras celebrations will outshine couples’ “50 Shades of Grey” date nights, but it’s an even bigger shame, in my opinion, that so many people will be sucked into those date nights when they could be celebrating just for the sake of celebrating.
In St. Louis alone, 10 million beads will be thrown out at the Bud Light Grand Parade. Everywhere else, 10 million boyfriends will have crappy nights because they unintentionally let down their girlfriends, and 10 million girlfriends will be sad because their boyfriends didn’t meet their unrealistically high expectations.
I’m not trying to say that Valentine’s Day is stupid, or pointless or wrong. I’m just saying there are more important things going on Saturday.
I can’t tell you what to do, but now you know which holiday I’ll be celebrating on Saturday. Why not cancel your plans, go buy some beer and head up to St. Louis or down to New Orleans. You can be down for date night or #UpForWhatever.
Column by Mallory Tucker, Sports Editor