Monday, March 3, 2014

Shrove Tuesday, Ash Wednesday and a Pancake recipe

I'm thinking about my blog and decided to head for Wikipedia. I don't know what Shrove Tuesday or Lent really is. Shrove Tuesday has always been pancake Tuesday in my family so we have pancakes for dinner - no idea why.
And Lent, I know is about 40 days before Easter, but I don't know why.
So here's what I found out.

Shrove Tuesday (also known as Shrovetide Tuesday, Pancake Tuesday and Pancake Day) is the day preceding Ash Wednesday. Shrove Tuesday, a moveable feast and is determined by Easter.

The expression "Shrove Tuesday" comes from the word shrive meaning ‘confess’. Shrove Tuesday is observed by many Christian denominations including the Anglican, Lutheran, Methodist and Roman Catholic Churches. Many of these Christians, on Shrove Tuesday, "make a special point of self-examination, of considering what wrongs they need to repent, and what amendments of life or areas of spiritual growth they especially need to ask God's help in dealing with." Being the last day before the season of Lent, related popular practices, such as indulging in food that one sacrifices for the upcoming forty days, are associated with Shrove Tuesday celebrations, and before commencing the fasting and religious obligations associated with Lent. The term Mardi Gras is French for Fat Tuesday, refers to the practice of the last night of eating richer, fatty foods before the ritual fasting of the Lenten season, which begins on Ash Wednesday.

Ash Wednesday is the first day of Lent in the Western Christian calendar. It follows Shrove Tuesday and occurs 46 days before Easter. It is also a moveable fast that can fall as early as February 4, and as late as March 10.

According to the gospels of Matthew, Mark and Luke, Jesus spent 40 days fasting in the desert, where he was tempted by Satan. Ash Wednesday marks the beginning of this 40-day liturgical period of prayer and fasting or abstinence. Of the 46 days until Easter, six are Sundays. As the Christian Sabbath, Sundays are not included in the fasting period and are instead "feast" days during Lent.

Ash Wednesday derives its name from the practice of placing ashes on the foreheads of adherents as a celebration and as a sign of mourning and repentance to God.  The ashes used are typically gathered from the burning of the palms from the previous year's Palm Sunday.


1 ½ c flour                 3 ½ tsps baking powder
1 tbsp white sugar       1 egg
1 ¼ c milk                  3 tbsps melted butter

In a large bowl, sift together flour, baking powder and sugar. Make a space in the middle and pour in the egg, milk and melted butter. Mix until smooth.

Lightly oil a griddle. Heat the griddle over medium heat. Pour about ¼ cup of batter per pancake onto the griddle. Brown on both sides and serve.
Do you observe Shrove Tuesday and Ash Wednesday?
If you do I'd love to have you share details about how you observe these two days. Or any other comments.


  1. In Michigan (esp. areas settled by Poles) we celebrate Paczki (pronounced poonch-key) Day. Same idea as Shrove Tuesday. Paczkis are round filled pastries (like heavy donuts). Originally, the idea was to use up ingredients that weren't used during Lent (lard, flour, fruit). Now it's an excuse to indulge in rich foods. When I was growing up, Lent was a time to "give up" foods we liked as penance for sins.

    1. Ohh, Paczki's sound wonderful and the original idea certainly fits in with Lent.
      Thanks for sharing, Diane. (I may look up Paczki's for more info)

  2. For those of us who are Polish, it's "pounchky" day...spelled phonetically. More specifically, the day to pig out on a special kind of filled donut. Since I worked for many years in a donut place, I don't eat them...had my fill years ago! But my family loves them.

    Also, as to "Shrove Tuesday", that is why in Romeo and Juliet, when Romeo is setting things up with the nurse so he can marry Juliet, he asks the nurse if Juliet has permission to go "to shrift", which is confession. That's where she tells her parents she's going, and that's where the Father marries them.

    1. I'm obviously not Polish, but I do love the idea of filled donuts.
      And I appreciate that tidbit on Romeo and Juliet. I'd never heard that. I love to learn mew things. Thanks Fiona.

  3. It's fun to learn about different traditions. I wasn't born in Michigan but since living here, we've developed the tradition of eating one of those heart attack treats Paczki's. I always love having Pancakes for dinner. We call it breakfast for dinner night and try to have it once in a while. It's comfort food.

    Thanks for sharing!

  4. Another one who knows about the Paczki's. I do need to check those out.
    And yes pancakes are definitely comfort food. I always like it when we have them for dinner. We had them as kids. Thanks Melissa.