Tomorrow – February 28 – is a special day in many parts of the world.
In the UK it is known as Shrove Tuesday, or more commonly, Pancake Day. This special day is determined by Easter, it always falls 47 days before Easter so the date moves but it will always be between February 3 and March 9.
In other countries, especially those where it is called Mardi Gras or some translation thereof, this is a carnival day, and also the last day of “fat eating” or “gorging” before the fasting period of Lent.
The name Shrove Tuesday comes from ‘shrive’, meaning absolution for sins by doing penance. Many Christians make a special point of self-examination, of considering what wrongs they need to repent, and what amendments of life or areas of spiritual growth they especially need to deal with.
According to Wikipedia, in many Christian parish churches, both Protestant and Roman Catholic, a popular Shrove Tuesday tradition is the ringing of the church bells (on this day, the toll is known as the Shriving Bell) to call the faithful to confession before the solemn season of “Lent” and for housewives to begin frying their pancakes.
Pancakes are now forever associated with Shrove Tuesday as it is a sort of all-in-one way of using up some fatty foods before Lent. Eggs, milk and sugar aren’t traditionally eaten in fasting season, so need to be used up beforehand.
Tomorrow, I’ll tell you more about pancakes, and some British Traditions.