St. Stephen's Episcopal Church
Thursday, February 11, 2016
There's a place for you here.
Shrove Tuesday pancake supper: our parish supper for Shrove Tuesday has been cancelled because of hazardous road conditions. You can have pancakes for supper at home, though. Have you ever wondered what "shrove" means, and how Shrove Tuesday came to be associated with pancakes?
Shrove Tuesday is the day before Ash Wednesday, which marks the beginning of the penitential season of Lent. In some parts of Europe and the Americas, Shrove Tuesday is the last day of Carnival. In historically Francophone cultures it is known as Mardi Gras, French for “Fat Tuesday,” as any visitor to New Orleans will attest.
The name “Shrove Tuesday” comes from the verb “to shrive” which means to absolve people of their sins. During the Middle Ages, “shriveners” (priests) heard people’s confessions in preparation for Lent.
So what does that have to do with pancakes?
Traditionally, those who fasted during Lent did not consume milk or eggs, so the practice was to use up those ingredients on Shrove Tuesday, before the fast began. Variations on the pancake tradition are observed in many countries, including Britain, Ireland, Australia and Canada. In Sweden, Iceland and some parts of the United States, Shrove Tuesday menus offer other time-honored fare, including salt ham, peas, pea soup and other foods. At St. Stephen's, we stick with pancakes--and apples and sausage. (What do apples and sausage have to do with this observance? They taste good!)
Another St. Stephen's tradition for Shrove Tuesday is the burning of palms saved from the previous year's Palm Sunday services. The ashes are used the next day during Ash Wednesday services. 
Ash Wednesday services (Holy Eucharist and the Imposition of Ashes) will be held on February 18 5 at 7:30 a.m., noon and 5:30 p.m. (Please note that child care is available during the noon and 5:30 p.m. services.) There will be no Morning Prayer, Evensong or other Wonderful Wednesdays activities that evening.