Today is Shrove/Fat Tuesday. For many, it is just another day. For some, it is the start of preparation for the Lenten Season. Tonight, please join us for a chili supper at 6pm and special Jazz concert at 7:30pm at Fourth Street United Methodist Church in Aurora.
Some of you probably do not know what Shrove Tuesday is. So, here is a brief synopsis. It comes from Greg Garrison at al.com.
It’s Shrove Tuesday, also known as Shrovetide Tuesday or Pancake Tuesday. So what does “Shrove” mean? And why are so many people eating pancakes today?
Pancakes were traditionally eaten on the day before Ash Wednesday because they were a way to use up eggs, milk, and sugar before the fasting season of the 40 days of Lent. Liturgical fasting during Lent emphasizes eating plainer food and refraining from “pleasurable” foods such as meat, dairy and eggs. Many people “give something up” during Lent as a way to prepare for Easter.
Shrove is the past tense of shrive, which means to gain absolution of sins by confession and repentance. Shrove Tuesday is also known as Pancake Tuesday in some western European countries. The pancake aspect is not as widely observed in the United States as it is in England.
Episcopal churches (and United Methodist Churches), being affiliated with the Church of England, carry on the tradition of Shrove Tuesday pancake suppers.
Of course, in America, today is more popularly known as Mardi Gras, which is “Fat Tuesday” in French. It’s the same idea: the last day to eat “fat” before Lent.
It’s called Fat Tuesday because it’s the last day of indulgence before Ash Wednesday, when ashes are imposed on the forehead in the mark of a cross, with the minister quoting Genesis on the mortality of human beings.
Ash Wednesday marks the first day of Lent, a period of 40 days, not including Sundays, which comes before Easter in the Christian calendar.
Christians who observe Lent use it as a time for prayer and penance to be spiritually prepared for Easter, which commemorates the Resurrection of Jesus.
Easter will be celebrated April 1 in Catholic and Protestant churches. Orthodox churches will celebrate Easter on April 8.
Happy preparation and happy eating!