Monday, March 3, 2014

Mardi Gras, Shrove Tuesday or Pancake Tuesday

Mardi Gras Fun
Tomorrow is Shrove Tuesday to some,  Mardi Gras to others, and Pancake Tuesday to the rest! I have never participated in a pancake toss for Mardi Gras but it always looked like fun to me. It is an old custom that comes to us from the British Isles. It is a race to the finish to see who can flip the pancake and run at the same time without dropping it. The winner often received a prayer book for her efforts. 

While in graduate school, my roommate and I flipped skillets of crepes for an evening Mardi Gras celebration, complete with all sorts of savory and sweet toppings.  It was an enjoyable evening spent with friends before we embarked on our Lenten sacrifices. 

Mardi Gras celebrations have many different associations in the 21st century, but the real meaning handed down to us by our faithfilled Christian ancestors, who were using up and enjoying certain foods on the day or two preceding Ash Wednesday, was the elimination of these foods during the Lenten fast. Mardi Gras means Fat Tuesday and butter was one of the foods being removed for Lent. Lots of tasty, buttery dishes were made and enjoyed on Fat Tuesday, along with dairy and eggs recipes. Shrove Tuesday's meaning comes from "shriven" to be forgiven of one's sins. A custom on the Tuesday before Lent in some Catholic countries was to go to confession before Lent began, to start Lent off with a clean slate, a clean soul.

Here is a link I hope you find helpful on Mardi Gras celebrations drawn not only from the British Isles or France, but from Eastern European countries.

Whether it is with pancakes or crepes, or one of your family's traditions - there are many ways to celebrate Mardi Gras. Perhaps you enjoy an extra bag or two of chips or an extra piece of dark chocolate on Fat Tuesday before you give them up for Lent. Whatever it is, enjoy Mardi Gras and celebrate the good things given to us by the Lord.