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Shrove Tuesday

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 Shrove Tuesday Hymn.

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.

Reflection on the above collect.

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10 thoughts on “Shrove Tuesday”

  1. what really annoys me ( and sorry about this hijacking)is that, here in the UK Easter Eggs have been on sale since Jan 1 hot cross buns a re available all year round. Mothering Sunday is constantly referred to as Mother’s day. and it makes me cross.

    Foods are very significant in Judaeo Christian religions ( and I presume in most others too.

    A special food to celebrate a special time. Now all become devalued and religious holidays just become more times when one can spend money.

    Right moan over.

    I shall take my grumpy old woman self off to be d! (lol)

    1. I just love the fact that Lent is never comercialised. If we buy a book to study, it is usually small and inexpensive. We buy less. We spend more time in prayer and study. The gifts we recieve cannont be bought or sold. The commercial world can take over Christmas and Pancake Day and Easter, but they can’t do a thing with Lent. It is all ours.

  2. I appreciate the supposition of liturgical development you presented. It made me wonder if milk was not allowed because calves needed it exclusively. Fat was also not allowed. This would explain butter, but it left me wondering why other fats?

  3. I just came across this collect. Is it something you wrote? (Based on a quick google search, I’m thinking it is.) I really like it.

  4. Thank you for this gift of a collect on which to meditate as we head into Lent. Every word is so well placed–I have, indeed, been blessed to know God’s compassion (I heard a homily once that the literal meaning of “compassion” is “to suffer with”–that makes sense (though it’s been decades since I studied Latin!)–now I need to focus not only on forgiveness, but to do so gladly. Ah –that may be my focus this Lent. Thank you so very much, Father Peters, for this much-needed focus. May God bless you richly!

    1. Thanks for your encouragement, Susan. “Compassion” is indeed “com” (with) “passion” (suffer), and draws from the Greek συμπάθεια (sympatheia) – sympathy. Blessings.

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