I work for an institution of the cloth (let’s keep it at that). On most days, my non-clothness (i.e. my total lack of Catholic-ness) stays under wraps and out of the way. On feast days and other holy holidays, I stick out terribly. Mostly because I have no idea when these holidays will occur or what they mean. Take Epiphany, for example, on which day we had hot chocolate and an overload of cake in the staff kitchen area… I had no idea why we were gathering ’round for a sugar crash at midday on a seemingly random occasion. Then… the epiphany of Epiphany. Or, as I know it, Dia de los Reyes Magos–a day I hadn’t celebrated since I was five and my mom got me a giant Barbie-type doll (the only time I ever observed Three Kings’ Day). Today, it’s Mardi Gras. Another holiday I take no part in and only recognize for its raucous bead-throwing and partying. Yes, I realize there is history, faith, and all kinds of background to it, but I don’t follow any of it and never really have. It’s a cultural phenomenon that I always observed as an outsider, a pure spectator; suddenly, I’m thrust in the middle of it. It’s a bit strange and somewhat surreal to find myself being the oddball who wonders why we’re gathering ’round for yet another sugary bacchanal. Are there faux pas? Most definitely, and I will probably continue to commit them when I reveal my ignorance regarding Christian holidays.
Perhaps, I’ll one day figure out the cycle of sugar-filled holidays.