Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Shrove Tuesday

Today is Shrove Tuesday (aka, Mardi Gras or fetter Dienstag) is the day before Ash Wednesday. The name "Shrove" means to be forgiven and was traditionally the day that the faithful went to confession in preparation for Lent. Domestic-Church.com explains the origin:

The English term "shrovetide" (from "to shrive", or hear confessions) is explained by a sentence in the Anglo-Saxon "Ecclesiastical Institutes" translated from Theodulphus by Abbot Aelfric (q.v.) about A.D. 1000: "In the week immediately before Lent everyone shall go to his confessor and confess his deeds and the confessor shall so shrive him as he then my hear by his deeds what he is to do [in the way of penance]".

Different cultures have various food related traditions on this day. Many churches have pancake suppers or make and sell donuts. This is in preparation for a Lent where the use of dairy, eggs and fat were forbidden.

Today, sadly, the day before Ash Wednesday has become yet another excuse for extreme self indulgent behavior on the part of many.

At any rate, having pancakes or donuts today is a wonderful tradition that can be especially anticipated by children and breakfast-enjoyers alike!

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"Slavery ended in medieval Europe only because the church extended its sacraments to all slaves and then managed to impose a ban on the enslavement of Christians (and of Jews). Within the context of medieval Europe, that prohibition was effectively a rule of universal abolition. "— Rodney Stark

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