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HAPPY EASTER, Traditions, History, and Great FReeper Recipes ^ | Mar. 18 2005 | Carlo3b

Posted on 03/18/2005 7:05:29 PM PST by carlo3b

The History of Lent

For our traditional Italian Roman Catholic family, Lent is a very special time of prayer, penance, sacrifice and good works in preparation of the celebration of Easter.

I have searched the internet researching the various ways that this wonderfully religious season is celebrated from it's earliest biblical beginnings.

Since the earliest times of the Church, there is evidence of some kind of Lenten preparation for Easter. It starts with Ash Wednesday, when Catholics had their foreheads marked with ash crosses, a symbol of penance signaling the start of Lent. During the 40 days leading up to Easter, Catholics also fast and abstain from eating meat on Fridays; some will even give something up for Lent.

Let us start with the word Lent, which means "springtime." Weather permitting, people view spring as a time of growth, a period when new life emerges from the deathlike state of winter. Hence the name, this theme of death and rebirth plays a vital role in the Lenten journey.

In the early centuries, Lent was a time of preparation for those who would be baptized at the Easter vigil, the main time individuals were baptized in those days, emphasizing that the dying and rising aspect is central in the ritual of baptism because.  In baptism, we die and rise with Jesus.

Early Lenten seasons only lasted two or three days, and those who would be baptized fasted in order to purify their bodies of sin. Gradually the time period expanded, depending on the time and place, and by the fourth century the church had established its current 40 day Lenten season.

The number 40 has biblical significance. In the story of Noah's ark, it rained for 40 days and 40 nights. Moses journeyed with the Israelites for a period of 40 days in the desert. Jesus later spent 40 days in the desert where he resisted sin.

Around the fifth century, when the practice of infant baptism became more the norm, Lent evolved as a period of penance for public sinners and for those who wanted readmittance to the church. The most notorious public sins of the time were murder, adultery and apostasy -- the sin of denying the faith.

Eventually Lent emerged as a season for the whole church to engage in penance in preparation for Easter.

On Ash Wednesday, the first day of Lent, Catholic foreheads around the globe were marked with an ashes. The symbol of ashes dates back to ancient times when they were sprinkled on persons engaging in penance.

In attempt follow Christ's model and live better lives, Catholics have three traditional disciplines when it comes to Lent: fasting, almsgiving and prayer.
Perhaps fasting is the first of these traditions that comes to mind when one thinks of Lent. The big question is why. Why fast or abstain from meat during Lent?

There is no one answer to this question, but rather, there are a number of theories.

Since ancient times, different cultures have used fasting as a way to prepare for ritual. Fasting is a way to heighten the senses because being hungry can make one more alert. When people ate nothing the two or three days leading up to Easter, chances are they would be very alert during the Easter celebration.

Most historical documentation indicates that fasting is needed to prepare for a feast. There's not a feast without a fast. You can't truly appreciate the loss of something until you give up that something.

In addition, it may have been essential for people to fast at certain times of the year. Food supplies were low after the winter, and fasting may have been a way to ration the food supplies so that people would survive until the harvest.

Fasting is also seen as a means of purifying the body so as to gain control over desires and passions.

Here is an Eastern Orthodox response to the reason for fasting during lent, from the ministry of the Russian Orthodox Church;

First: it's a self-imposed discipline. Christians fast as a way of saying "no" to impulses.
Second: fasting is consciously intended to lower our energy level. The less energy we have, the less energy we have to "sin." (I put that in quotes because in Orthodoxy we have a very dynamic concept of "sin." It doesn't mean the same thing it means to most people.)
Third: the lower energy level makes it much easier to pray.
Fourth: we want to remember the poor, and the experience of fasting helps do this. (In fact, Christians are to use the money saved as "alms"-- not to be given through and to institutions, but to be given personally to disadvantaged persons.)
The Catholic church views fasting as a way to deepen our appreciation of Christian values, by reflecting on our lives, expressing sorrow for our sins and showing solidarity with the poor and hungry.

It is also important to note that fasting has been defined differently over time. In the past, it meant not eating at all. Now the Catholic practice is to fast on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday, meaning that people are only allowed one full meatless meal (and possibly two smaller meatless meals, depending on one's needs) each day.

The practice of abstaining from meat on Fridays may have grown out of respect for the day Jesus was sacrificed. We remember his death by not eating flesh on Fridays.

Fasting regulations and norms have also differed over time. According to "The Essential Lenten Handbook," compiled by Fr. Thomas M. Santa, CSsR, and published in 2000 by Liguori Publications, one of the most traditional Lenten practices was that of not eating any eggs or milk during Lent. The money not spent on dairy products was collected and donated to the church. The tradition of giving Easter eggs grew out of this practice because "that which was prohibited was given as a gift to celebrate the end of the season," Santa wrote.

The practice of giving Easter eggs as a symbol of the death and rebirth of Easter. The chicken coming out if its egg -- it's tomb -- symbolizes new life.

After the Second Vatican Council, fasting regulations became less strict, putting more responsibility on individuals rather than mandating them. Thus, the idea of fasting has been extended into other things. Today it's common for people to give up things like sweets, TV or video games for Lent.

The second Lenten discipline, almsgiving, easily follows from the practice of fasting. By eating simply, Catholics are better able to relate to the poor. The are also able to save the money they would have spent on food and donate it to the less fortunate. In addition to money, people also donate their time and service as they reach out to the needy in their communities.

The last discipline is prayer, and that occurs in many different ways throughout Lent. The Stations of the Cross is one of the most common Lenten prayers. On Palm Sunday, at our local church, as many religious celebrants around the globe, will dress in costume and portray each Station of the Cross. This is often a way for the children to get actively involved in prayer and better understand the life and passions of Jesus.

It is thought that Catholics should engage in fasting, almsgiving and prayer year round. However, these practices tend to be intensified during Lent, a time when people examine the role of sin in their lives, engage in penance for their sins and refocus their efforts to grow spiritually and return to Christ.


TOPICS: Your Opinion/Questions
KEYWORDS: easter; food; history; lent; recipes; traditions
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To: Diver Dave
Looks like we'll be puttin' on a few pounds..

Banana Bread
 1) Cream shortening; add sugar and beat well.
 2) Beat eggs and mash bananas (very fun for the kids) and add them to the above.
 3) Sift flour, salt and baking soda, add alternately with sour milk and beat until smooth.
 4) Bake in a greased pan at 350 degrees for about 1 hour or until it's done.
Cool well before slicing.
Banana Spice Loaf Cake

A tasty and easy snack cake with bananas and raisins, along with chopped pecans and spices.

  • 6 very ripe bananas
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 3 cups flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoons ground cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 cups raisins
  • 1 1/2 cups chopped pecans or walnuts
1) In a medium bowl, mash bananas and pour vegetable oil over them; set aside while making cake.
2) Cream butter and sugar; add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.
3) Stir in banana and oil mixture; mix well.

21 posted on 03/18/2005 8:14:19 PM PST by carlo3b (
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To: carlo3b
Crock Pot Lamb! A work of true elegance and simplicity, for which many thanks. I can only attempt to reciprocate by posting my favorite Martha Stewart Easter Ham recipe, complex, perhaps impossible to prepare, but fun to read. I'm particularly smitten with the part about getting up before dawn to gather grasses with the morning dew still intact. It's a good thing?

Ham Baked in Herbs compliments of Martha Stewart
Serves 16

1 18 lbs fresh ham
18 garlic cloves
1 bunch of chervil with flowers
1 bunch basil.
1bunch thyme.
10 young, tender bay leaves
1/2 pound fresh-cut grass, 6" to 10" long, washing and stored in cold water SEE NOTE BELOW
1 bunch chives.
1 bunch tarragon.
1 bunch parsley.
2 oranges, sliced thick
2 bottle of dry ros'e or dry white wine

1. Heat the oven to 325 degrees,
2. With boning knife, trim all but 1/4" of fat from the ham, leaving 4" of rind around the shank. Using a paring knife, make small incision in the meat, about 1/2" deep and 1/4" apart.
3. Peel 10 of the garlic cloves and slice them lenghtwise. Insert the garlic slices with alternating sprigs of chervil flowers, basil, thyme, and bay leaves. Ther herbs and garlic should almost cover the meat. Lightly sprinkle with salt and pepper. Crush the remaining 8 garlic cloves, leaving them in their peels, and set aside.
4. Line a large roasting pan 5 3/4" high and 16" in diameter with the fresh-cut grass, about 1" thick on the bottom and around the sides. Reserve some grass and herbs for presentation. Layer the chives, tarragon, and parsley on the bottom and sides of the pan. Place the orange slices on top of the herbs and then cover the orange slices with the basil. Place the ham in the roasting pan with the crushed cloves of garlic and gently pour the entire bottle of wine around the meat. Bake for 30 minutes and then cover loosly with aluminum foil. Continue to braise for another 5 hours, basting if necessary. Remove the foil for the last 30 minutes of cooking to lightly brown the meat.
5. When the ham has finished cooking, remove it from the roastig pan to a carving board and allow it to sit, loosely covered with aluminum foil, for 30 minutes prior to slicing.
6. While the ham is resting, strain the cooking juices from the roasting pany through a sieve into a saucepan, saving the orange slices. Add them to the juices. Over medium heat, allow the juices to gently boil and reduce by half. Skim off the fat and strain the liquid again to remove the orange slices. Serve hot with the ham on a large platter, garnished with the reserved grass and herbs.

NOTE: Locate an area in advance with tender, young, organically grown grass that has not yet been cut.) It is best to cut it very early in the morning while the dew is still evident. This will prevent the grass from drying out while you are cutting it. Wrap cut grass in damp paper towels to keep it fresh until it reaches the kitchen sink. Wash the grass throughly in cold water and keep it in a bowl of cold water until ready to use.

As Martha used to say, "it's a good thing."

22 posted on 03/18/2005 8:14:44 PM PST by Veto! (Opinions Freely Dispensed as Advice)
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To: carlo3b; All

I need a dessert for Easter dinner.....that doesn't take hours to prepare.

23 posted on 03/18/2005 8:17:52 PM PST by TXBubba ( Democrats: If they don't abort you then they will tax you to death.)
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To: abbi_normal_2
You are added to our ping list, and now you can eat this without gaining any weight.. :)

Would it be a holiday without a special lasagna, I say no.. surprise!!  This one is made with tiny meatballs ( ground turkey balls today), sliced hard-cooked eggs, ricotta, mozzarella and Parmigiano Reggiano cheeses, and a smooth marinara sauce, encased in layers of lasagna noodles. My family and I rolled hundreds of marble-size meatballs while sitting at the kitchen table, with strong coffee, joking and singing.

A Roman Holiday Lasagna

Turkey Balls

Ricotta FillingNow for the Assembly: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
1) Spray a cookie sheet with olive oil cooking spray. Place all the ingredients for the meatless balls in a bowl. Mix well with your hands or a spoon.
2) Using about 1 teaspoonful at a time, roll the mixture into about 45 little balls. Arrange them on the prepared cookie sheet. Bake for 20 minutes, Or until the "meatballs" are just firm to the touch. Remove from the oven, but leave the oven on to bake the lasagna.
3) Cook the lasagna noodles according to package directions. Meanwhile, place all the ricotta filling ingredients in a bowl and mix well.
4)  To assemble the lasagna, spread a thin layer of marinara sauce on the bottom of' a 13 X 9-inch baking pan. Place a single layer of lasagna noodles in the pan, overlapping slightly.
5) Spread one-third of the ricotta filling over the noodles. Scatter one-third of the "meatballs" evenly over the ricotta. Scatter one-third of the sliced hard-cooked eggs and one-third of the remaining mozzarella over the top. Spoon a thin layer of marinara sauce over the top.
6)  Repeat the layers, but this time arrange the lasagna noodles in the crosswise direction from the first layer (this will make serving easier), trimming as necessary. Add a third layer, using the remaining ricotta filling, "meatballs," mozzarella cheese, and hard-cooked eggs.
Finish with a layer of lasagna noodles and spread marinara sauce on top.
When ready to bake, remove the plastic wrap. Bake for 45 minutes. Let stand about 15 minutes before serving.
** This dish can be prepared 1 day in advance. Cover with plastic wrap (not foil, because the acid from the marinara sauce can cause little bits of foil to get into the sauce) and refrigerate.
Serves 10 hungry family members, only 8 Italians....LOL

24 posted on 03/18/2005 8:18:23 PM PST by carlo3b (
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To: carlo3b
Let me get this marked right now.


25 posted on 03/18/2005 8:19:59 PM PST by don-o (Stop Freeploading. Do the right thing and become a Monthly Donor.)
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To: carlo3b

26 posted on 03/18/2005 8:32:29 PM PST by Victoria Delsoul
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To: carlo3b

Thanks for the ping!

27 posted on 03/18/2005 8:50:34 PM PST by Alamo-Girl
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To: carlo3b

Bump for later

28 posted on 03/18/2005 8:54:24 PM PST by hedgetrimmer
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To: carlo3b

Celebrating HIS Resurrection with you Carlo.
Thank you for the ping.


29 posted on 03/18/2005 9:20:48 PM PST by Cindy
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To: TXBubba
Chocolate Fondue

Don't laugh, chocolate fondue is wonderful and a great surprise for the entire family and friends.. The fabulous sauce is usually served with a platter of cut-up fruit. This is a perfect dessert for sharing with friends and is easy to prepare. All you need is a fondue pot set over a warmer and some fondue forks. If you have some slightly dry plain cake, brioche, etc. you could also cut it into cubes and serve alongside the fruit.
Any kind of fruit can be used, but if possible avoid any with seeds. Certain fruits, like citrus or melons, have to be peeled first. The fruits should be cut up taking their shape into account in order to make them as visually attractive as possible. Star fruit is an absolute must. Small fruits such as strawberries are presented whole.

  • 1 lb. dark or bittersweet chocolate
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 2 cups milk
Over very low heat, melt dark or bittersweet chocolate in heavy cream and milk.
Variations: sweeten with 2 tbs.. of sugar and/or butter enliven with 4 tbs.. of hot strong coffee flavor with a vanilla bean.

30 posted on 03/18/2005 10:02:16 PM PST by carlo3b (
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To: Veto!
Ham Baked in Herbs compliments of Martha Stewart..

Yummmmmm Thanks for the great recipe.. I wonderful if Martha fixed this for her new friends while she was in the big house?  :)

31 posted on 03/18/2005 10:05:40 PM PST by carlo3b (
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To: KateUTWS
You just knew that I couldn't resist.. You are added and I bump you with this..

Roasted Salmon with Balsamic Glaze

32 posted on 03/18/2005 10:10:17 PM PST by carlo3b (
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To: Sir Valentino
I can't think of *FOOD* while Terri Schiavo is being *STARVED* to death!

I understand.. Isn't this the absolute worse situation.. what are these people thinking, trying to kill that poor woman right in front of the entire world.. EVIL

33 posted on 03/18/2005 10:14:44 PM PST by carlo3b (
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To: Fracas
Shrimp and Bacon Salad ..

WOW.. I will serve this some time this coming week.. Thanks.. and Happy Easter

34 posted on 03/18/2005 10:16:28 PM PST by carlo3b (
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To: carlo3b

Add me to ping list please :)

35 posted on 03/18/2005 10:19:00 PM PST by hipaatwo
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To: lizma
Should I reconsider?

YES!.. But it will not quite replace the 6 hour slow cooking Lamb over the open fire.. :)

36 posted on 03/18/2005 10:20:30 PM PST by carlo3b (
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To: carlo3b; pocat; AAABEST; SLB

LOL...... I remember when we were stationed at Aviano AB in Italy one Easter and all we had was a Easter Beer Bunny to hide our Checkoslovakian Budwisers for us !

Of course the Easter Mass in Italy was really special.....

37 posted on 03/18/2005 10:30:59 PM PST by Squantos (Be polite. Be professional. But, have a plan to kill everyone you meet. )
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To: don-o
Hey my FRiend.. try this baby..
Stir-Fried Chicken Salad With Raspberry Vinegar
  • 2 skinless chicken breast fillets
  • 12 baby spinach leaves
  • 3 Tbsp olive oil
  • 3 Tbsp pine nuts
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp raspberry red wine vinegar
  • 1/2 Tbsp white wine vinegar
  • 1 cup (2 oz) small lettuce leaves, torn
  • Pepper
1) Cut the chicken into fine strips, and wash and dry spinach leaves, discarding any hard stalks.
2) Heat 2 Tbsp of the olive oil in a skillet. Stir-fry the chicken for several minutes.
3) Add the spinach and cook for about 1 minute, or until barely wilted.
4) Add the pine nuts and cook for 1 more minute.
Spoon the contents of the pan onto serving plates.
Pour the vinegars into the pan with the remaining 1 Tbsp of oil. Season with pepper and stir until mixed. Lightly toss with the torn lettuce leaves. Pour over the mixture on the plates and serve immediately.

 Raspberry Wine Vinegar

Raspberry and Sesame Dressing

2.5 oz. Raspberry Red Wine Vinegar
2 Tbsp clear honey
1 tsp sesame seeds
Salt and pepper
2.5 oz. Grapeseed Oil (or other salad oil)
1 tsp French mustard
Mix all ingredients together until well blended. Serve immediately over your favorite salad.

38 posted on 03/18/2005 10:37:12 PM PST by carlo3b (
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To: Squantos
Easter Beer Bunny to hide our Checkoslovakian Budwisers..

SHAME..SHAME on you.. snicker... hehehehheheeh

39 posted on 03/18/2005 10:39:19 PM PST by carlo3b (
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To: carlo3b

As darkness is the absence of light, evil is the absence of good; innocence is blind.

40 posted on 03/18/2005 10:55:57 PM PST by Old Professer (A man's conscience is like his garden, it is his and his alone to tend.)
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