Shrove Tuesday


Tuesday Reflection


16th February 2021

...with fasting...

12 "Yet even now," declares the Lord,
  "return to me with all your heart,
   with fasting, with weeping,
   and with mourning;
14 and rend your hearts
   and not your garments."
   Return to the Lord your God,
   for he is gracious and merciful,
   slow to anger, and
   abounding in steadfast love

....Joel 2:12,13

Pancake Day, or Shrove Tuesday,
is the traditional feast day
before the start of Lent on
Ash Wednesday.

It was the last opportunity
to use up eggs and fats
before starting the Lent fast
and pancakes are the perfect
way of using up these ingredients.

How do you like your pancakes?
Jam, Golden syrup or
lemon juice and caster sugar
are the usual fillings
for pancakes;
my favourite is
with lemon and sugar

There are traditions from all
over the world associated
with Shrove Tuesday.
In the UK,
pancake races form an important
part of the celebrations -
an opportunity for large numbers
of people, often in fancy dress,
to race down streets
tossing pancakes.

The object of the race is to
get to the finishing line first,
carrying a frying pan
with a cooked pancake in it
and flipping the pancake as you run.

The most famous pancake race
takes place at Olney
in Buckinghamshire.
According to tradition,
it started in 1445 when a woman of
Olney heard the shriving bell
while she was making pancakes
and ran to the church in her apron,
still clutching her frying pan.

The Olney pancake race
is now world famous.
Competitors have to be
local housewives and they must
wear an apron and a hat or scarf.

Each contestant has a frying pan
containing a hot pancake.
She must toss it three times
during the race.
The first woman to complete
the course and arrive at the church,
serve her pancake to the bellringer
and be kissed by him,
is the winner.

At Westminster School in London,
the annual Pancake Grease is held.
A verger from Westminster Abbey
leads a procession of boys
into the playground where the
school cook tosses a huge pancake
over a five-metre high bar.

The boys then race to grab a portion
of the pancake and the one who ends up
with the largest piece receives
a cash bonus from the Dean.
But there's more to Shrove Tuesday
than pigging out on pancakes or
taking part in a
public pancake race.
The pancakes themselves are
part of an ancient custom
with deeply religious roots.

Alas, the chances of these
celebrations taking place
this year are remote,
but we hope we can look
forward to them once more in 2022.

Shrove Tuesday gets its name from
the ritual of shriving
that Christians used to
undergo in the past.
In shriving,
a person confesses their sins
and receives forgiveness
for them.

When a person receives pardon
for their sins,
they are released from the guilt
and pain that has been caused.
This tradition is very old.
Over 1000 years ago a monk
wrote in the Anglo-Saxon
Ecclesiastical Institutes:

   'In the week immediately before
    Lent everyone shall go to his
    confessor and confess his deeds
    and the confessor shall
    so shrive him.'

Lent is a time of abstinence,
of giving things up.
So Shrove Tuesday is the
last chance to indulge yourself,
and to use up the foods
that aren't allowed in Lent.

In the old days there were
many foods that devout Christians
would not eat during Lent:
foods such as meat and fish,
fats, eggs, and milky foods.

So that no food was wasted,
families would have a feast
on the shriving Tuesday,
and eat up all the foods
that wouldn't last the
forty days of Lent
without going off.

The need to eat up the fats
gave rise to the French name
Mardi Gras; meaning fat Tuesday.

The Mardi Gras Carnival
is celebrated in many parts
of the world where there
are French connections,
the most famous being New Orleans.

Many Christians today decide to
'take up' rather than,
or as well as 'giving up'.
More prayer or Bible reading,
doing extra acts of kindness,
keeping a daily list of
blessing in their lives,
while on a daily walk taking
a plastic bag and picking up
rubbish along the way,
sending notes to someone
who is alone to say they're are
in our thoughts and prayers.
The list is endless.

Will you celebrate
Shrove Tuesday in feasting
in preparation for
a more reflective Lent?

It may be interesting to watch,
or just listen to a song
'How Can I Keep From Singing'
sung by Audrey Assad
via the link shown below.