The Tuesday before Ash Wednesday
I’ve written about this previously – but it’s worth re-telling for newer visitors to this site. “Shrove” is the past tense of the verb “shrive” – “to obtain absolution for oneself by confessing and doing penance”.
In French this is Mardi Gras – “fat Tuesday” – the feasting before Lenten fasting. A time of “carnival” [The derivation of the word “carnival” is uncertain. Possibly it originates in the Latin carne vale, meaning “to farewell meat” or even “to say goodbye to the flesh”. Others posit that its origin lies in the Italian carne levare, meaning “to remove meat”. The Oxford English Dictionary has that “Carnival” is derived from Latin carnem levare (removal of the meat) or carnem laxare (leaving the meat).]
In Northern Springtime, I presume that, in order to have chicks etc. one must leave the eggs with the hen to hatch. One stops eating the eggs during this time – Lent. And can start eating them at Easter time – the origin of Easter eggs. In the quaint manner of liturgical developments, not eating eggs during Lent means one gets rid of all the eggs before Lent! Hence, the development of Pancake Tuesday – of using up all our eggs by eating pancakes on Shrove Tuesday.
This is the last day of the “Alleluias” until Easter. This day may even involve the burying of the Alleluia.
A good collect for Shrove Tuesday:
Let us pray (in silence) [that we may live as forgiven people]
God of infinite mercy,
grant that we who know your compassion
may rejoice in your forgiveness
and gladly forgive others
for the sake of Jesus Christ our Saviour
who is alive with with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God now and for ever.