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How one Bakersfield Catholic prepares for Lent

With Lent comes many traditions.
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Posted at 9:36 PM, Mar 01, 2022
and last updated 2022-03-03 18:18:35-05

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KERO) — Many Catholics are getting ready to start their Lent season which begins with Ash Wednesday and ends on Easter Sunday.

A local resident and a priest get ready to begin the season and discuss about where these traditions come from.

With Lent comes many traditions for Catholics and Tuesday we have been invited into local resident Reyna Olaguez’s home where she teaches us a little about the many traditions she has passed down for this time of the year.

Reyna is busy making a dish with some raisins and cheese.

“So, this is a bread dessert, and you cannot have the other amazing dishes without this bread dessert. Which is bread dipped into a beautiful concoction of cinnamon, cloves, and sugar cones, and then you sprinkle it with a little bit of raisins, peanuts and cheese.”

Before she got to cooking, she had to get the ingredients. Green onions, bananas, raisins, and much more for the full course meal in honor of Lent.

“And this is the way that I honor them, by cooking the meals that they left for us to cook, it is the most beautiful thing that you can get from your family, the traditions, the culture, and the food.”

In her family, these dishes are only made once a year during Lent as a signal of their ties to Catholicism.

“So, we don’t eat meat, we stop eating meat for forty days. These are the dishes that our ancestors came up with to replace the meat. Not that we ate meat everyday, but this is one of the dishes.”

She is talking about the “bolas de camaron” or balls of shrimp topped on “chuales” which is dried corn her mother makes with a special cheese exported from Mexico.

As people make their own dishes, and avoid meat on fridays, the priest with Missionarios Guadalupanos, said it is important to remember why.

“Because when Jesus was alive, eating meat was meant for celebrations, it was something happy, but giving up meat means sacrifice and penance,” said Oscar Salazar.

Now giving it up is a way of refocusing one’s spirituality and that is why many people also give up other things during that time for Lent.

“Because sometimes we put our jobs, money, and other luxurious items instead of God and this time gives us an opportunity to reflect on those items and give them up to focus on God and do good for others.”

He added Ash Wednesday is one of the busiest days for Catholic churches but is sad to see that rarely ever do most of those people return for regular service.

“People come because of tradition, but I think it has more to do about how one lives and applies these believes in our daily lives through faith and God.”