In 1966, just a year before they fled Cuba, my husband and his sister dressed up for Carnival at "Collegio" which I assume is from his doctor father's past.
Carnival always sort of amuses me... the word, that is. Carne Vale, farewell to meat. Not only because during the period of lent, you weren't supposed to eat meat instead eating beans and fish and cheese as your major source of protein, but because it was usually the end of the slaughtering season.
For many areas, you would slaughter as you needed and as long as the weather remained cool or cold enough to handle or save the meat. In addition, you had to husband your resources to make sure that your animals, especially your breeding animals rather than eating ones (or market animals) would make it through the remainder of the winter, until the grass was growing well enough to sustain them.
In addition, the women in the household had to keep a stern eye on their stores of food. What they had had to make it through the rest of February and March, until the chickens began laying eggs again (at the rate that they usually lay...yes, it is controlled by LIGHT which is why the big "egg factories" have lights on 24-7 ), spring greens would grow in the garden again as well as be available to be collected, and calving would start so that cows would start producing milk again.
Animal protein was actually the food of the wealthy during the middle ages, or those who had the luxury of being able to eat some of what they raised rather than give it to the lords or sell it at market to provide the items they couldn't raise. In general, most people relied upon beans (in the myriad of forms--lentils, etc.), milk and cheeses. Cheese was especially important as it had good storing qualities.
Here, my daughter has proclaimed that we are giving up "sugar", meaning all sweets, for Lent. She has made me promise to "lock it all up, throw it away." She has been begging me to return the ice cream we got yesterday for my birthday as we didn't eat it. Things are likely to be a bit tense here after a while...but I think we can do it. Did we have a party? Did we dress up? Not this red hen.
Now...you're probably wondering who won the book for my birthday give away. Well, since I usually post at night, I'm going to wait until tomorrow morning to announce a winner. Call it a snow delay. :)