Shrove Tuesday is a Christian observance… It’s a part of the Christian calendar and commemorates the evening before Lent, a period of 40 days and 40 nights of fasting and prayers before Easter (slightly worrying that Easter is only 40 days away!). ‘Shrove’ is taken from the Old English word ‘Shrive’, which means to confess one’s sins. Today, Shrove Tuesday is the day that folk confess their sins and ask God for absolution. But why do we make pancakes on Shrove Tuesday? Eggs and butter were among ‘forbidden foods’ during Lent and by making pancakes these ingredients can be used up.
Living in a secular society, I think we forget the reasons behind some of the things we do. I consider myself a Christian, Anglican (Church in Wales) to be precise (although I was Baptised, aged 8, in a Presbyterian Chapel) but I don’t attend Church every week. I try not to impose religion on my children, I will educate, explain as much as I understand but ultimately their religion, should they choose one, will be their choice when they are old enough to make an informed decision.
Despite this, I always make the meaning behind celebrations known to the children. We discuss why we celebrate Christmas (even though it’s celebrated at the wrong time of the year); we discuss why we celebrate Easter and today we discussed the meaning of Shrove Tuesday, Ash Wednesday and Lent while we made pancakes.
I have never made pancakes myself, I normally entrust the responsibility to my Mum. After all, I am the person who still can’t cook and omelette because I somehow manage to turn it into scrambled egg.
They were a little strange to start with but nobody else seemed to mind, plenty of lemon and sugar and even a little chocolate syrup…. Yum, Yum…..