Quinquagesima and the Ultimate Shrovetide
Quinquagesima is the final Sunday before Ash Wednesday. I love the chaos of Shrovetide. The tension between our sensual Shrove side and our penitential Lenten side is palpable in these days leading up to Lent. That’s one reason I like the painting The Fight Between Carnival and Lent by Pieter Bruegel the Elder. Its depiction of man as equal parts saint and sinner, a comic and chaotic mixture of of the Seven Deadly Sins and the Seven Holy Virtues on the eve of Ash Wednesday, is fantastic.
The anything goes attitude is present in Shrovetide celebrations from Russia to Brazil. The ballet Petrushka depicts a fantastically chaotic Shrovetide fair.
I love Stravinsky’s use of folk tunes: they capture the joy of the Shrovetide carnival. Pete Seeger thought it was something to yodel about.