Open Sidebar

Mardi Gras and Ash Wednesday: A Gateway to the Season of Lent

February 21, 2023 | Jessica Smith

“Glory, glory, hallelujah!” students immediately joined in the singing and joy led by the PROS as they entered this year’s Mardi Gras Celebration. The whole school sang, danced, and learned about the significance of Mardi Gras. During the season of Mardi Gras, people eat rich food and celebrate as they get ready to enter the season of Lent, a quieter, more reflective time. On Fat Tuesday, many church communities get together to eat pancakes and fellowship. Students in grades 6-8 made pancakes in science class! In Louisiana, there are parades and people dress up in purple, gold, and green. The colors symbolize the following: Purple – justice, Green – faith, Gold – power.  

The PROS led the Mustard Seed School celebration – complete with parade and throwing beads. During the celebration, we put the word “alleluia” away. As a school, we give up the word alleluia for the season of Lent. After Mardi Gras, Ash Wednesday leads us into this season.

On Wednesday, February 22, students in grades K-8, came to the Community Room to participate in an Ash Wednesday prayer walk with five different stations. 

At each station, students read a passage of scripture, a reflection, wondering questions and a prayer. They heard water as they read about the baptism of Jesus, they smelled anointing oil as they reflected on Jesus having his feet washed with oil, they saw culturally diverse icons illuminated by candles as they heard about Jesus being the Light of the World and they put their fingers in ashes from last year’s Palm Celebration to create an ash cross on their Lent Reflection Journal.

What is the significance of Ash Wednesday? This observance marks the beginning of Lent.

Lent is a season of forty days (signifying the forty days that Jesus was in the wilderness) beginning with Ash Wednesday and ending with Easter. The word “Lent” comes from an Old English word that means “springtime.” This is a season that invites us to a holy dark and quiet time where we can weed away those things that separate us from God. It is a time when we can ask God to plant good seeds in the soil of our soul. Lent is a springtime for our spiritual lives. As we are nourished through the story of Jesus’ life, we can lean into God’s nurture and care.

Jessica Smith

Music Teacher, Preschool and Grades 6-8; Worship Coordinator

With more than 20 years experience teaching music in a variety of settings from elementary to college, Dr. Jessica Smith has a deep love for music education, integrated arts curriculum, world music, and worship.
In 2017, Smith traveled to Ghana to study West African drumming and dance as part of a fellowship from Fund for Teachers. In 2015, she completed four years of training to become a Guild Certified Feldenkrais™ Practitioner, a method that uses neuroscience and movement as a catalyst for potent learning. As a clinician, Smith has led workshops in vocal studies and drum circle facilitation. Before coming to Mustard Seed School in 2008, Smith was the Director of Preparatory & Continuing Studies at the University of Houston’s Moores School of Music where she also served as a Visiting Professor.

Dr. Smith enjoys traveling and spending too much money on plants at the Union Square Greenmarket.

Related Stories

May 5, 2023

How Can I Keep From Singing? Middle School Spring Concert, Friday, May 12, 7pm

Learn More
January 17, 2023

Preschool Music Class: Sophisticated Learning Through Playful Music Making

Learn More
November 13, 2022

The Music Exhibition: A Storied Composition

Learn More