Celebrating Shrove Tuesday and Preparing for Lent

Today is Shrove Tuesday! Or Fat Tuesday! Or Mardis Gras! Or Pancake Day! or Fasnacht Day! Shrove Tuesday has always been a reminder that Christians are entering a season of penance (for Catholics it’s a good day to go to Confession). Shrove is the past tense of the word shrive, which means to hear a confession, assign penance and absolve from sin. Christians abstained from all meat and items that came from animals, including butter, eggs, cheese and fat. That is why Shrove Tuesday became known as Mardi Gras (which is the French term for Fat Tuesday). Shrovetide, the days from the Sunday before Lent through Shrove Tuesday, is also known as Carnivale which literally means “farewell to meat”. We will be having ‘King Cake’ for dessert. King cake is a Danish dough that is braided and baked and and then covered with delicious sugar toppings in the traditional Mardi Gras colors of purple, green and gold. Then you insert a tiny plastic ‘baby’ in the cake. Whoever finds the baby is the King (or Queen) for the day!  It also became know as Pancake Day because Christians used up all their eggs, butter and milk to make pancakes and other pastries. So, tonight for dinner we will have pancakes with all the fixings (whipped cream, chocolate chips, and a variety of syrup flavors). But my favorite is Fasnacht Day! The term Fasnacht is synonymous with the Carnival season in southern Germany and Switzerland! And it is customary to serve Fasnacht donuts which are made from a yeast dough, deep fried and coated with powdered sugar or cinnamon sugar. YUM!

mardis gras

Joey found the ‘baby’!

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Tomorrow is Ash Wednesday…the first day of Lent, a season of fasting and prayer in preparation for the celebration of the resurrection of Christ on Easter Sunday. The ashes symbolize the dust from which God made us.

Remember that you are dust, and to dust you shall return.

I will be posting soon about some of the Lenten traditions we practice in our family. Until then I leave you with a quote by Venerable Fulton J. Sheen:

We can think of Lent as a time to eradicate evil or cultivate virtue; a time to pull up weeds or plant good seeds. Which is better is clear, for the Christian ideal is always positive rather then negative.

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