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Easter: Shrove Tuesday

What are the origins of this day?

flat-lay photography of pancake with icingShrove Tuesday is actually the day before Lent begins, the day before Ash Wednesday. It is a day of preparation for Lent. Today it is often known as Pancake Day. Shrove comes from the old word 'shrive', which means to confess the things you have done wrong. Many people used to go to church to do this on the day before Lent began.

Why are pancakes eaten on Shrove Tuesday?

It was once the custom to have a special kind of fast during Lent. This meant that people would not eat any fat, meat or eggs and only eat plain foods. The Tuesday before became a day of celebration when pancakes were made and eaten to make sure that all the fat and eggs that were in the house were eaten up before Lent began.

Pancakes are still eaten in many homes on Shrove Tuesday and it is usually a time of happiness and fun. However, very few people stop eating fat, meat and eggs during Lent these days. Some Christians will fast by not eating certain foods or by fasting for once a day each week.

Try making your own pancakes. For the pancake mixture you need:

  • 110g
    plain flour, sifted
  • pinch of salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 200ml
    milk mixed with 75ml water
  • 50g

Watch this video to find out more about how to make pancakes.

Did you know? In France, Shrove Tuesday is known as Mardi Gras. It literally means 'Fat Tuesday'. Traditionally this was the last night of feasting and fun before entering 40 days of fasting (going without food) leading up to Easter. That's why the enormous Mardi Gras party in New Orleans, America, ends abruptly at midnight on Tuesday, with a battalion of street sweepers pushing the crowds out of the French Quarter towards home.