Pancake Day has always been one of my favourite days of the year! It’s a day where there is a legitimate excuse to eat loads of pancakes and have loads of fun attempting to make them. (I’ve always struggled when it comes to flipping pancakes!).
However the day isn’t just about eating pancakes and having fun – although it is a great bonus.
Shrove Tuesday is the end of the week leading up to Lent, which is traditionally known as Shrovetide. Shrovetide is the English equivalent to the word ‘carnival’. This world comes from the Latin words carnem levare, which means, “to take away the flesh.” Shrovetide was the time to cast off things of the flesh so that we can prepare spiritually for Lent.
The English word ‘to shrive’ comes from the Anglo-Saxons and it means to hear Confessions. Shrovetide is a time in which people go to Confession and receive forgiveness for their sins in order to prepare for Lent. It means that Lent can be a time of renewal of faith and of penance.
When we choose to give something up for Lent, or we choose to do something that we don’t normally do, this should be something that will challenge us and remind us that Jesus gave up his life for us. Giving something up for Lent is nothing in compared to the sacrifice that Jesus made.
Now you might be wondering what all this has got to do with pancakes. Well, traditionally in England pancakes would be prepared because in doing so a family would use up all their eggs, milk, butter and fat. They would want to use all of this up because as part of the Lenten fast people would not eat meat or animal products – they would basically become vegan for 40 days!
Really think about what you choose to give up or do, that you don’t already do, during Lent. Try and make it so that whatever you choose brings you closer to God! It is really important to go to Confession all year round but make a special effort to go at the start of Lent so that you can prepare yourself for Easter and the greatest sacrifice ever made. When Jesus died on the cross to save us from our sins and rose again on Easter Sunday.
And don’t forget to eat lots of pancakes!