Thursday, March 10, 2011

Tablescape Thursday: The Meaning of Mardi Gras

For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are JUSTIFIED freely by His grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.  God presented Him as a sacrifice of atonement, through FAITH in His blood......He did it to demonstrate His JUSTICE at the present time, so as to be JUST and the one who JUSTIFIES those who have FAITH in Jesus.  Romans 3:23-26 (NIV)

By His POWER God raised the Lord from the dead, and He will raise us also.  I Corinthians 6:14 (NIV)

You might be wondering how these Scriptures are related to a Mardi Gras tablescape.  Well, let me explain......

To be perfectly honest, I had absolutely no intention of doing a Mardi Gras tablescape.  And while I'm being honest, I must admit, until a couple days ago, I wasn't even really familiar with what Mardi Gras is truly all about.  Instead, the words "Mardi Gras" conjured up a negative image in my head, one associated with revelry and vulgarity. 

So how did I end up doing a Mardi Gras tablescape, you ask?  Well, you see, this past week I put together a St. Patrick's Day tablescape (or at least my version of a St. Patrick's Day tablescape), fully planning to share it this week.  But something happened......when I stepped back to look at the finished product, something about the black & emerald green color scheme reminded me of Mardi Gras.  That got my creative juices flowing, and I began to imagine what it would look like with just a few simple changes.......adding some gold & purple placemats, changing out the napkins for purple or gold ones, and maybe adding a mask or some beads.  And as I've shared before, if I get something in my head, I HAVE to make it happen, or it will just stay in my head! 

But I still couldn't quite get past the negative image I associated with the occasion.  So I decided I needed to do a little research first.

First, I discovered that "Mardi Gras" really means "Fat Tuesday."  Okay, what does that mean, and why is Tuesday fat?  Well, I found out that long before the holiday was transformed into simply a reason to party, it really did have a deeper meaning.  You see, it is the last day before Ash Wednesday, and Ash Wednesday, which is always the seventh Wednesday before Easter, marks the beginning of Lent.  So what exactly is Lent?  Well, it is a time when many Christians, particularly Catholics, abstain from some type of food (usually meat) in preparation for Easter.  In other words, they sacrifice a little in order to prepare their hearts for the greatest sacrifice of all - Christ's death on the cross -  & His resurrection! 

Of course, back in the day, refrigerators weren't available, so in order not to waste the food, they would often stuff themselves the day before Lent began.  This also gave them one last feast before the fasting......thus, "Fat Tuesday" came about. 

So what about the colors we often see associated with Mardi Gras: purple, green, and gold?  Well, a little research revealed that the purple stands for justice, the green for faith, and the gold for power.  The masks, I also discovered, are connected with justice.....meaning that when hidden behind the masks, everyone is equal.

Now that I knew the origin, I had a little more to work with, and I began to transform Mardi Gras into something that had meaning for me.....something with a very positive image.  You see, although I'm not Catholic and don't typically abide by the Catholic calendar, I can appreciate anything that honors and celebrates Jesus and the sacrifice He made for you and me.  And as for those colors, well if you ask me, they go hand-in-hand with Jesus' sacrificial death and resurrection.  It is only by FAITH in Jesus that we are saved, that we are forgiven and receive JUSTIFICATION, and that we are given POWER over sin and death. 

Wow!  Now that's something worth celebrating!

So now on to the tablescape that I just couldn't get out of my head:

 A solid black tablecloth serves as the backdrop.

A combination of purple and gold beaded placemats, along with the black rhinestone chargers and clear silverware, add some drama and sparkle to the setting.

The black scalloped dinner plate is topped with a green glass salad plate, which is then topped with a black glass appetizer plate. 
The more layers, the better!

A coordinating green goblet is showcased atop the plates.

A deep purple napkin surrounded by a gold overlay is secured with a green napkin ring that is actually turned backwards, helping the napkins to "stand" in the goblets. 

 A quick trip to Party Galaxy provided some inexpensive sequin masks, which are wrapped around the napkins a couple times to help hold them in place.  I love that each of the masks is slightly different.

The simple centerpiece is made up of a footed bowl containing a green candle and lots of beads, which drape casually over the edge.  (You'll have to wait 'til next week's tablescape to see what's hiding under the beads!) 
Two small green candleholders flank either side.

As I was working on the tablescape, I remembered a gold pillar candle with a fleur-de-lis etching that I had, which I thought would be absolutely perfect.......HAD being the key word.  As I looked through my cabinet of candles, I realized that I no longer had that candle.  I must have donated it in one of my obsessive cleanings at one point.  Don't you just hate it when that happens?  You think of just the perfect accessory, and then realize you no longer have it.  Or am I the only one that does that?

So anyway, I settled for a green one.


So there you have it: a very meaningful Mardi Gras tablescape! 

As I mentioned earlier, this actually evolved from a St. Patrick's Day tablescape, so check back next week to see how by just changing a few "accessories," you can make a whole new tablescape!

black tablecloth - Bed, Bath, & Beyond
purple beaded placemats - Target
gold beaded placemats - Hobby Lobby
black rhinestone chargers - Michael's
black scalloped dinner plates - by Rosanna
green salad plates/goblets - Horchow
black appetizer plates - Cracker Barrell
green napkin rings - Pier 1
gold overlay - Steinmart
purple napkins - I absolutely cannot remember!
silverware - Walmart
masks/beads - Party Galaxy
footed bowl - Hobby Lobby

I'm linking with Between Naps on the Porch for Tablescape Thursday.  Check it out to see several more beautiful and creative tablescapes!