St. Stephen's Episcopal Church
Wednesday, December 11, 2013
There's a place for you here.
What is Shrove Tuesday and why is it 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!)
This year, Shrove Tuesday falls on February 12. That evening, we will gather in the large Fellowship Hall for an all-ages pancake supper; seatings are at 6 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. Reservations are not required, and the cost is $4 for adults and kids age 12 and up, and $3 for younger children (payable at the door).
If you would like to volunteer to help with the pancake supper, please contact Matt Johnson.
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 Wednesay services. If you have palms from last year, please bring them to church anytime until Shrove Tuesday to add them to the pile!
Ash Wednesday services (Holy Eucharist and the Imposition of Ashes) will be held in the church on March 9 at 7:30 a.m., noon and 5:30 p.m. (Please note that child care is not available during these services.) There will be no Wonderful Wednesdays activities that evening, and the 7:30 a.m. service will take the place of the usual weekday service of Morning Prayer and Communion. Read more about Lenten services here.