Why we Eat Pancakes on Shrove Tuesday

by Ben Panny

In the past Christians used to visit church to confess their sins and had been absolved from them. This was known as "Shriven" or "Shrive". Later on this was shortened to Shrove. That is why currently Pancake Day is identified as Shrove Tuesday. But why do we eat pancakes on Shrove Tuesday?

Christians believe that Lent commemorated Jesus' 40 days in wilderness and that is why they mark this period by fasting. Shrove Tuesday was the ideal day to use up the ingredients that were given up for Lent: butter, milk, flour and of course eggs. Pancakes had been a dish that could use up all the eggs, butter and milk within the house with just the addition of flour. A pancake was, in those calorie-starved days, regarded as a luxury.

In United Kingdom the tradition of making and consuming pancakes on Shrove Tuesday falls between 2nd of February and 9th of March. The date of Shrove Tuesday is determined by the date of Easter. Shrove Tuesday is celebrated in numerous countries. New Orleans for instance has Mardi Gras, and Rio de Janeiro equally raucous carnival. Shrove Tuesday or Pancake Tuesday is known as 'Fasnacht' in Germany what signifies the night of the fast. In Italy it is actually called 'Carnivale' from the Latin for 'goodbye to the flesh'. Mardi Gras is celebrated not merely in New Orleans but also in Brazil and Australia.

Catholics built huge tradition around Shrove Tuesday. It has come to be colorful variety of Carnivals around the globe. And even the word 'carnival' is related to fasting for Lent. One interpretation of this word states that it originated from the Latin 'Caro Vale' that suggests "Farewell Meat". And not simply consuming pancakes on a Shrove Tuesday is a well-liked tradition. At St. Columb Major in Cornwall, rival villages have a tradition of playing 'Hurling the Silver Bell', utilizing a ball of applewood covered in silver. In Scarborough, local individuals delight in the customs of 'Ringing the Pancake Bell' and 'Shrovetide Skipping'. Folks set up long skipping ropes across the promenade and as much as ten folks must skip at one time.

In Venice the tradition of Carnival is incredibly old. Carnivals have been taking place given that 1268 only with a couple of centuries interruption. Carnivals in Venice are quite well-liked mainly because of the tradition of wearing masks. These masks have even longer history than the Carnival. Masks were the symbol of protest against oppressive circumstances in this little city. The Carnival virtually vanished in the 18th century nevertheless it was once more celebrated right after new masks had been marketed in the shops in the 1980s.

Germany has its extremely ritualistic Carnival and featuring parades, humorous speeches and floats. Nowadays, German Carnival is becoming more and more well known tourist attraction. It is even often compared to Munich's Oktoberfest. German Carnival is so exceptional also since it begins at November 11th at 11:11. Carnival could be cancelled. Last time it was cancelled in 1991 to show the protest against the US war in Iraq.

About the Author: