Fat Tuesday and Ash Wednesday

We celebrated Fat Tuesday with red beans and rice and king cupcakes minus the king.  Mardi Gras, as it stands, is not our cup of tea.  However, I think there are some meaningful activities and traditions that can be redeemed.  We explained to our kids that Fat Tuesday is a day to eat well and celebrate before the more pensive time of Ash Wednesday and the 40 days leading to Easter.   We served red beans and rice simply because it is traditional for America’s Fat Tuesday celebration…and we just really like the dish.  We tried the recipe from this month’s Southern Living.  It was very flavorful.

We also served kingless king cupcakes.  I didn’t want to buy a whole sheet cake, so I bought the cupcakes with the colors.  I think it would be fun to get a real king cake, but now that the stores do not bake the king inside, I’m not sure I will.  Perhaps next year.

After the meal, we explained Ash Wednesday and the significance.  While most people view the Lenten season as a time of self-denial, I have come to see the beauty of taking 40 days to prepare our hearts for Easter and to focus on what Christ has done for us.  I think the Lenten and Easter season should be celebrated more than just a day.  Easter is a significant time and I think we should make as big a deal of it as Christmas.  I’m always looking for ways to make Easter special and to be honest, growing up we had little traditions besides Church and the Easter basket.  I spent some time looking online for creative ideas and I found one that we will try this year.  You need a big bag of jellybeans and one jar or container for each child.

The idea here is two fold.   One goal is to work on refining behaviors that you want in your home , for God’s glory.  The other is to realize that you cannot succeed on your own.  Children earn a certain colored jellybean for the deeds they do.

Red: represents the blood of Christ and is earned for sacrificial acts.

Green: represents the Palm’s shade and is earned for good deeds.

Yellow: represents God’s light and is earned by showing acts of kindness, love, or good witness.

Orange: represents prayers at twilight and is earned by listening and participating during evening prayers and devotions.

Black: represents sweet rest and night and is earned by going to bed well…on time, no fuss, staying in bed and etc…

Purple: represents sorrow and is earned through true repentance.

Pink: represents a new tomorrow and is earned by forgiving.

Blue: (added by me) is table manners.

No white beans should be given.  The children work on earning the jellybeans for 40 days and get to partake of their jars on Easter morning.  Most kids will probably start well out of excitement, but fade in the reality of keeping this perfect behavior all the time.  This is a good thing.  This part is the secret.  On Easter morning their jars are topped off with white jellybeans to represent the Grace of Christ.  He covers our sins, failires, and short comings.  The jars are full representing perfect behavior imputed to us through Christ.  Every jar is equal in the end as righteousness comes from Christ.  

I am not letting the children know about the white beans at all.  I want that part to be an unexpected surprise.  I plan to buy some white Jelly Belly beans when they aren’t looking.  For this activity I bought Starburst and Sweet Tart jellybeans which have no white beans in the bag…that way there will be no questions, or older kids figuring it out.   We will begin tomorrow on Ash Wednesday.  I also made a rule that no one may pester for jellybeans, boast, or tattle on  another.  They may however, point out another’s good deeds and help their siblings receive recognition by avoiding self-promotion and being others centered instead.  It should be interesting to see what this “experiment” reveals.



  1. Cindy Leaf says:

    I love this idea!! Thanks for sharing!

    • kimmyskids says:

      You are welcome! So far our “righteous deeds” have gotten 2 jellybeans, just 2 all day long. 😉

  2. What a beautiful idea, I too think it is so important to look at Lent as a time of preparation. Thanks so much for visiting June Makes Six. I look forward to visiting your blog again. Have a great night.


  3. My children are grown, but this is a beautiful idea! Thanks for sharing. Will do when I have grandchildren.

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