Mardi Gras. Fat Tuesday. Shrove Tuesday. Pancake Day. Sunset on Shrovetide. Whatever you call it—if you call it—it’s here.
In many Christian denominations, tomorrow is the beginning of Lent, traditionally a season of fasting, prayer, reflection and a healthy measure of self-denial.
But tonight we feast. Whether attending a pancake supper in a church hall, as I will, or stumbling along Bourbon Street in one last bender, trading bare flesh for shiny plastic beads, as others will, this is our last hurrah.
The upcoming Lenten season may be for Christians, but nearly every religious faith seems to observe periods of solemnity and fasting, either preceded by or followed by fun and feasting.
For some people I know, Lent is do-over time for failed New Year’s resolutions. For others, it’s a slim-down for swimsuit season. For retailers, it’s a time for chocolate bunnies and marshmallow Peeps that have been out since February 15th to grow stale on the shelves, as Easter won’t come until April 24th.
I like Lent. In fact, this being one of the latest start dates I can remember, I am eager to get started. I don’t always give up one particular thing per se. I have a favorite daily devotional I’ll read. I’ll think twice before doing anything to excess. I’ll try to introduce more quiet into my day to listen for, well, I’m not sure.
I only today looked up “shrove” because I realized I had no idea what it meant. The first definition I saw said that it was the past tense of “shrive.” I didn’t know what that meant either. Another referred to Shrovetide, which was unfamiliar.
1. n shrove, the first day of Shrovetide.
2. n Shrove Tuesday, the last day of Shrovetide, when people traditionally eat pancakes.
3. n Shrovetide, the three days before Ash Wednesday
Shrive [Shriven, imperfect or Shrove, past tense]
1. v to hear or receive the confession of; to administer confession and absolution to
2. v to confess, and receive absolution
Shrive, shrove, shriven, whatever. Aunt Jemima and I are stepping out tonight.