Monday, 20 February 2012

What is Shrove Tuesday all about?

When is Shrove Tuesday?
Shrove Tuesday is the day before the start of Lent (Ash Wednesday).
Shrove Tuesday marks the end of the season of Epiphany. 
Shrove Tuesday is always 47 days before Easter Day.

Why is it called Shrove Tuesday?
The word shrove comes from the process of "shriving" which Christians used to do before Lent it dates back at least 1000 years. 

To "shrive" is to confess and receive absolution from the one who hears your confession.  This shriving releases you from your sins and allows you to be released from any pain they caused you.  Shrove Tuesday is therefore a day to clean the soul and celebrate before Lent starts. 

Why do we eat pancakes?
Eating pancakes on Shrove Tuesday is an ancient religious custom.  Lent was traditionally a period of abstinence and therefore using the fats in the pancakes allowed the house to be free of them without them being wasted.

Carnival and Mardi Gras
Did you know that Carnival and Mardi Gras are both part of the same celebration?  I didn't until I started researching it for this post.  I always knew they fell around the same time but had no idea that the festivals of joy and celebration in the Carribean, Latin America and New Orleans are all about celebrating before Lent.

Here is my pancake day post from last year which more focusses on lent
And if you'd like a summary leaflet out the day and a lovely pancake recipe see the Oxford Diocese Why do we eat pancakes?

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