Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Shrove Tuesday

Today is Shrove Tuesday. Traditionally, Shrove Tuesday is the day to cook and eat lots of foods that will use up the eggs, sugar and oil forbidden during the 40 penitential days of Lent, which begins on Ash Wednesday.

The word "shrove" refers to the hearing of confessions.
"In the week immediately before Lent everyone shall go to his confessor and confess his deeds and the confessor shall so shrive him." (Theodulphus)
In Germany, (and areas near me in Pennsylvania), Shrove Tuesday is known as Fastnacht or, the eve of the fast. Instead of making pancakes, a German Fastnacht tradition is to make donuts. My grandmother used to make her own donuts on Fastnacht.

The resulting frenzy to use up all the foods forbidden during Lent, gave birth to Carnival and Mardi Gras. Carnival comes from the Latin carne levare, or "taking away of flesh", which could refer both to the prohibition on meat eating, as well as the resulting submission of one's own human nature to things above.

Mardi Gras is French for "Fat Tuesday" and has taken on a life of its own in places such as New Orleans, in the U.S.

I'll admit that my foray into Anglicanism will make me forever see the day before Ash Wednesday as Shrove Tuesday.

2 comments:

Cygnus said...

I miss the Fastnachts, aka Kinklings, from when I was in Frederick! Nobody out here makes 'em.

Dymphna (4HisChurch) said...

I'd never even heard the term Fastnachts until I saw it up here in PA.

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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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