The Mardi Gras parades’ aren’t limited to Louisiana. Tomorrow, weather permitting, Oxford will celebrate Shrove Tuesday with a merry parade and a pancake dinner, all hosted by St. Peter’s Episcopal Church.
The parade has been in Oxford for nearly twenty years. Reverend Taylor Moore, rector at St. Peter’s Church, said he thinks Duncan Grey III, recently retired IX Bishop of Mississippi, may have started the tradition when he was the rector at St. Peters since he lived in New Orleans for awhile.
Kara Howland, director of Christian Development at St. Peter’s, has directed the parade for three years now. In the video above she invites Oxford to celebrate. This year will be different since the Oxford University United Methodist Church will be participating in the parade for the first time.
“This tradition at St. Peter’s has become a community event and we are so excited that OUUMC will be joining us this year,” said Howland.
Between the two churches the parade will have children in decorated wagons, bicycles and scooters as their adult family and friends will throw beads.
“Often folks in the bars walk out to catch beads.” Whitney Robinson, director of children and families ministries at OUUMC said, “It’s homegrown Mardi Gras!”
“I love that the parade brings generations of people together.” Howland said, “Everyone enjoys a parade and the festivities. We are able to come together in a community to share fellowship with each other.”
She remembered that her first year at St. Peter’s, it was a rainy, cold day but the parade wasn’t deterred. The community came together and marched the parade within St. Peter’s halls.
Some of the attendees will come decked out in purple, green and gold. Rev. Moore remembers his first Shrove Tuesday at St. Peter’s in 2002: he agreed to wear pink pants and the tunic costume.
“My first and last time wearing that costume,” he said. “There have always been enough eccentric and wonderful people at St. Peter’s who would think dressing up for a parade is a great idea.”
He added that he loves to see all of the families and children having a great time as the churches provide the joyful family and community event before Ash Wednesday.
OUUMC will have a small ceremony at end of the parade: Burning of the Palms. The two churches will burn their palms that were used at last year’s Palm Sunday. From the burning palms the ashes will be used for Ash Wednesday to mark crosses on attendees’ foreheads.
Shrove Tuesday could be also Fat Tuesday as there will be king cake served at OUUMC and also a large pancake dinner at St. Peter’s after the parade and the palms burning. Rev. Moore emphasized that shrove Tuesday may be on the same day as Mardi Gras but it has a slightly different emphasis.
“Shrove Tuesday is an English term and ‘shrove’ is a form of shrive: to receive absolution when one forgives one’s sins.” He said, “In a sense it really looks forward to the next day, Ash Wednesday, when confession is sthe emphasis. The practice of eating pancakes with sausage, bacon or other meats derives from clearing out the pantry of fatty foods since one was supposed to not eat them during Lent.”
The parade will begin tomorrow at 5:30 p.m. on the Square, with weather permitting. Stay tuned to St. Peter’s Facebook and OUUMC’s Facebook for any events updates.
Callie Daniels is a staff writer for HottyToddy.com. She can be reached at email@example.com.