Shrove Tuesday
Shrove Tuesday is the day before Lent begins.

Because Lent is a time of abstinence when Christians abstain from (deny themselves) luxuries, the day before it begins is traditionally a time for final enjoyment.

This day was also traditionally a time for making a confession of your sins so that the strictness of Lent could be started with a clear conscience the next day. The old English word for this was to 'shrive' from which we get the name Shrove Tuesday.

Olney in Buckinghamshire is
famous for its pancake race
Different countries have different customs and ways of enjoying themselves on this day.

In Britain the custom developed of using up foodstuffs which would not be eaten during Lent. These were made into pancakes - hence the name 'pancake day', and pancake-tossing races developed as a result.

Pancake Race circa 1950
In German speaking countries it's called Faschingdienstag. Celebrations involve carnival processions through the streets and lots of dressing up.

Click here to see some Faschingdienstag pictures from Munich in southern Germany.

In New Orleans, Louisiana, Shrove Tuesday is called Mardi Gras ('Fat Tuesday') and is celebrated in a number of the southern states of America. Here too the day is known for its extravagant carnival processions. Visit New Orleans on the Net for more information.

  © Mr.B at Farcaster Communications