In the Catholic calendar, Ash Wednesday marks the start of Lent, a 40-day preparation for Easter Sunday. Ash Wednesday is a day of fasting and there are still many here in Malta who forgo meat, confectionaries and even abstain from adding milk or sugar to their coffees during this 24-hour period. As to Lent itself, believers are encouraged to make little sacrifices following the excesses of carnival (prinjolata anyone?!) and in preparation for Easter.
Although I’m not a practising Catholic, I still find it useful and satisfying to set myself a few challenges, trivial though they may be. Years back I gave up all fast food (be it from KFC, Mc Donalds, Burger King, Pizza Hut and variations thereof or prepared at home) chocolates, cakes, biscuits, sweets, soft drinks, cappuccino and tea. That was a tough one. I remember one night, a couple of weeks into this abnegation, I actually dreamt that I was diving into an Olympic-sized swimming pool full of refreshing Coca Cola. Temptation is a stubborn character and until the very end tried to make me succumb. It was past 11pm on the Saturday before Easter Sunday, with less than an hour to go before I could, with a clear conscience, savour the banned food and drink once again. I had attended a marathon church service when the friend I was with suggested going to a pizza place in Paceville to silence our rumbling stomachs. It was past 11pm on the Saturday before Easter Sunday but even then, I looked the tantalizing menu display in the eye, smiled a weary smile, shook my head and quenched my need for food with a juice.
What’s on the sacrificial altar for this year? A reduction in my alcohol intake springs to mind but for a teetotaller that is akin to a fraudulent declaration. Instead, I am setting myself a mellower goal. Facebook will once again face a suspension (a replay of 2014) while soft drinks are going to be shown the red card. So folks, I will be gone from the world’s most popular social networking site until the 5th April. However, since I will remain active here, at http://www.magrelinhos.com, I suggest you click the FOLLOW tab in the pull down menu above to receive email notifications of new posts.
With that spot of advertising, I say farewell, albeit temporarily, to Facebook and fizzy drinks.
And now, over 40 days later, I say hello again as I pop a 1-litre Coca Cola bottle!