SHROVE Tuesday is something we are familiar with, but the Biblical meaning of the day is likely to be lost on most of us.
In honour of the big day, we investigate just what ‘shrove’ means – and share some other facts about the day more commonly known as Pancake Day.
What does Shrove mean?
‘Shriving’ is a ritual that Christians used to go through in the past where they confess their sins and receives absolution for them.
The absolution frees the person from the guilt and pain that their sins have been causing them.
According to This Is Church, “in the Catholic or Orthodox context, the absolution is pronounced by a priest.
“This tradition is very old. Over 1000 years ago a monk wrote in the Anglo-Saxon Ecclesiastical Institutes: ‘In the week immediately before Lent everyone shall go to his confessor and confess his deeds and the confessor shall so shrive him.’”
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Shrove Tuesday came about so Christians wouldn’t be wasting food during lent.
Traditionally many different types of food would be given up – meat, fish, eggs and milky food – so they were all cooked up so they wouldn’t be wasted.
Flour was added in to the mix, and pancakes were born.
What other interesting facts are there about Pancake Day?
The most flips anyone has ever done with a single pancake is 349 in two minutes
In France, people make a wish before flipping their pancakes, and do so while holding a coin in the other hand
On average, Brits eat two pancakes each on Shrove Tuesday… but we all know someone who eats at least THREE times more
The Guiness World Record for the most pancakes served in eight hours is 34,818
The highest pancake toss was 329cm high
On Pancake Day in Lithuania they consume pancakes and donuts
In Finland they eat green pea soup and pastry. In Iceland they eat salted meat and peas
Pancake Day races are common across Britain in towns and villages. The race is followed by a church service
Shrove Tuesday, or Pancake Day is a moveable feast it can fall anywhere between February 3 to March 9
How is Shrove Tuesday’s date decided and why do we eat pancakes?
Shrove Tuesday falls on the last day before Ash Wednesday – so is always 47 days before Easter Sunday – and this year fell is on Tuesday February 13.
The date varies each year but will always be between February 3 and March 9.
As the day before Lent, Shrove Tuesday is the perfect time to get rid of any last minute indulgences – and use up any fatty foods.
In the USA it’s known as Mardi Gras, which is French for ‘Fat Tuesday’.