Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Shrove Tuesday

Today is the day known as Shrove Tuesday in the church calendar. Lent begins tomorrow, which is known as Ash Wednesday. Traditionally, Lent was a period of self-imposed deprivation. Mirrors would be covered over and the pursuit of pleasure of any sort was avoided for the forty days leading up to Good Friday - the day of the crucifixion. These days, people (if they observe Lent at all) tend to choose to give up one thing, one "guilty pleasure" such as chocolate or TV.

In order to prepare one's home for this period, people would consume every sweet and pleasurable thing in the house on the Tuesday before the start of Lent. In England, this has come to mean making mountains of pancakes and spreading/filling them with all the nice goodies remaining in the house. I guess one can see a reflection of the Jewish tradition of ridding the house of all leaven in the build up to Pesach (Passover).

Even in homes where no other religious observance is kept, many families all over the country will be eating pancakes tonight. Since we're not great traditionalists, we usually forget about it until it's too late, only, now that I've thought of it, I think the Romeis family is likely to have pancakes tonight.

But shh! Don't tell my boys - it will be a pleasant surprise after all the serious-diet-imposed tedium of the past few weeks.


Anonymous said...

Thanks for that explanation. I'd heard some people referring to Pancake Day and I didn't know what they meant. Now I do! :-)


Anonymous said...

Happy to have helped, Trina. It's always a bit of a surprise which posts people find helpful and which not!