Shrove Tuesday sometimes reminds me of children with their modern Advent calendars; chocolates, candies and other assorted surprises hiding behind each door. But sadly, there appears no mention of what the calendar is about or its symbolism; just as with Shrove Tuesday; it is no longer Shrove Tuesday – it’s now Pancake Day!
Originally, Shrove Tuesday was the day that people would confess their sins and receive absolution. Shriving - that act of forgiveness, where the individual is released from their suffering, pain and guilt, was in preparation for the season of Lent. During this time people would empty their larders, freeing their homes from foods such as: meats, eggs, fatty foods, fish and milk items. This prepared the home for the period of Lent – that time for reflection, renewal, and forgiveness.
Today so many people are becoming more health-conscious. They are recognising the importance of cleansing their bodies through detoxification, fasting, and exercise.
Shrove Tuesday is quite similar. It’s a celebration as well as an act of penitence, in preparation of cleansing the soul. And Mardi Gras, the French translation for ‘Fat Tuesday’ is the celebration of that act.
How wonderful! We have cleaned out our fridges and we have cleansed our souls. Indeed, it is a time to celebrate.