On Tuesday 5 March we will celebrate Shrove Tuesday. What an important day this is in our calendar as a reminder to us all that we are entering a season of penance, with Lent beginning the following day. During the Lenten season (6 March – 18 April) many of us will observe a period of fasting, repentance, moderation and spiritual discipline. The real purpose behind this is to enable us all to set aside some time to reflect on Jesus Christ – his suffering and sacrifice for us all. This period marks the forty days leading up to Easter.
But why do we eat pancakes on Shrove Tuesday I hear you ask? This is probably a carry over from times when households needed to use staple foods like eggs, dairy and flour before the period of fasting began.
The word shrove means to hear a confession, assign penance, and absolve from sin. In the Middle Ages, it became the custom to confess sinson Shrove Tuesday so that we could enter the penitential season in the right spirit.
In languages that derive from Latin, Shrovetide is also known as Carnivale and translates literally as farewell to meat as we began this period of fasting.
On Wednesday 6 March, as we remember Ash Wednesday, many of us will choose to attend mass where the focus will be on repentance from sin. The ashes we receive at mass are a symbol of repentance and the death of Jesus Christ.
Take time at this special time of year to truly reflect and engage on your faith.
To find out more about how you can prepare for the season and follow past practice follow this link for resources on listening, viewing, praying and reflection.