Tag Archives: fasching

Mardi Gras

Grease up for Fat Tuesday

By Emma Palova

EW Emma’s Writings

Lowell, MI- We’re heading into the Mardi Gras weekend with Fat Tuesday coming up on Feb. 28, which is better late than never.

“Everything is going to be late and screwed up,” said my forever pessimistic husband Ludek.

He was most likely referring to the late onset of the much coveted gardening and yard season in Midwest USA.

Fasching Fenn Valley winery 1998

The Lenten resolutions, fasting and such

Tuesday is the last day when you can be a glutton, which is one of the seven deadly sins, as I have learned in a recent therapeutic meeting and from Brad Pitt’s movie, “Se7en.” That is if you are a catholic. And even if you are not, the start of Lent on March 1st, known as Ash Wednesday, can become your six-week diet program, depending on the interpretation of Lent.

That way,  you can fit into that nice spring white or green Easter dress.

The newspaper take on Lent, what do you give up?

“What are you going to give up for Lent?” was the standby question  at the newspapers  and out on the streets with the feature, “Man on the Street” before the multi-media journalism take-over.

Whoever was assigned to do this, would usually stand by the US Post Office to catch innocent users and fry them with the question of the week, and a mandatory head shot.

“Oh, I hate my photo taken,” was the common reply, and after a while. “Oh,oh. I usually give up coffee.”

And that was a standard lie, one of the seven deadly sins.

The social media have made this obnoxious “Man on the Street” feature obsolete, and substituted it with voluntary selfies and profile pics. Now, you can freely render your opinion on any platform from twitter to reddit, all the way to the new planetary system of Trappist 1.

“Hey, I love Mardi Gras, I can finally be myself,” posted XOXOX with the profile pic of  a cat.

At one point, I modified the newspaper question along with some other fine writers to, “What are we going to take on that we haven’t done before?”

The Paczki take on Mardi Gras

My American outtake on Mardi Gras is that I go either to the local Meijer store or to the Honey Creek Grist Mill and buy me some greasy Paczki (Polish donuts) and forget about all my diets and resolutions.

I could also go to the Franciscan Sisters Life Process Center and learn how to bake the paczkis, in case I  want to impress.



What I would really like to do is go to a true Fashing Karnival without having to go to Germany or to Brazil for Mardi Gras drag queens.

Mardi Gras in Lowell, ha,ha,ha

Years ago, my Lowell Ledger editor Jeanne B. laughed at me, when I asked if Lowell was doing anything for Mardi Gras.

“Are you crazy?” she laughed. “Go and ask Liz.”

Liz is the ever populist Lowell chamber director and she can be a lot of fun. Just ask the merchants during the annual Girls Night Out (GNO) events in the spring and fall. But, no fun for Mardi Gras.

“Are you out of your mind, here in Lowell?” Liz gasped for some fresh air.

Well, the Fenn Valley winery of German origin didn’t seem to think that putting on a Fashink Karnival was all that crazy. Although, they  did it only twice, and something probably happened in between.

Fenn Valley winery Fashink 1998

Ludek and I were lucky enough to hit the Fasching Karnival at Fenn Valley in 1998. That was the year when the movie Titanic directed by James Cameron was bigger than the sunken ship itself in 1912.

Check out the 2014 story when Ludek and I dressed up for the only Fasching Karnival we’ve attended so far. We dressed up as Chicagoland gangsters, only to run into more like us at the winery party.

We just didn’t have the violin case. Next time. We’re still looking for a great Mardi Gras aka Carnival or Fasching party, that is something before Halloween.

Halloween seems to consume Mardi Gras masks and costumes for whatever reason.

Go figure.


Mardi Gras crafts DIY

Celebrate Mardi Gras and DIY Mardi Gras Coin Topiaries

The big carnivals that I would like to go to:

Brazilian Carnival


Carnival of Venice


Copyright (c) 2017 Emma Blogs, LLC. All rights reserved.


Lenten traditions & Mardi Gras

Lenten traditions feature Mardi Gras

By Emma Palova

EW Writings

Lent much like Easter is heavy in tradition. Back in the old country, former Czechoslovakia, we never baked paczki. They are just plain greasy, although some people baked “koblihy,” pastries like donuts made with pure lard.

The tradition has it that you have to get all the fat out of the house before Lent.

For Mardi Gras, which is Fat Tuesday, before Ash Wednesday, some people mainly in small towns and villages, dressed up.

The only time I dressed up with my husband was in 1998 for fasching karneval, the German equivalent of Mardi Gras.

Emma Palova with Ludek Pala at Fenn Valley.
Emma Palova with Ludek Pala at Fenn Valley.

It was held at the FennValley Winery in Fennville, Michigan. We decided to go for the gangster/avant-garde look of the 1920s. We found a costume shop on Division Street in Grand Rapids. I wore a storied dress with a feather sashay, a headband, and beads and held a long cigar holder. My husband had a striped suit with a carnation boutonniere and of course a hat that Al Capone would be proud of. We were missing just one thing.

The infamous violin case.

In vain I searched high and low for a violin case. There were no violin cases without a violin inside available. Lent was early that year, so the epic 1997 movie Titanic was still all over the place.

We rented a room at a local elegant bed & breakfast in Fennville. As we climbed the stairs, a couple decked in period attire was standing there. I paused to stare at them. I didn’t expect the Inn would have a butler and a maid.

“We’re from the Titanic,” said the woman as she grabbed her necklace. “This is my heart of the ocean.”

I knew we were in for a ride of our lives.

The winery dimmed lights for the event, so we didn’t immediately see the foursome stationed at the bar. As I got used to the light, I saw a gangster group.

“Hey, we’re directly from Chicago and we have a violin case,” one of the guys said holding up the case.

One group dressed up as a polka band, and they actually played brass instruments. The entertainment, food and wine were great. I even ran into a live Statue of Liberty.

I don’t think the winery had a fasching since. They swapped it for chili cook-offs, that don’t exactly have the same charm, but work well even without a violin case.

I wrote a story about the event back then for the Allegan County News and the Saugatuck Commercial Record.

The next morning a joint in Saugatuck, played the song “My heart will go on” from the Titanic.

Sometimes, I wonder if the fasching experience would have been as strong without the movie.

Do we process and remember by a strong association with something, by circumstances, by impact or by what actually happens to us?

I would like to go to the Rio de Janeiro Karneval one of these days.Read about my Lenten soups on the Travel & Food page.

Copyright © 2014 story by Emma Palova, photo courtesy of the Fenn Valley winery.



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