Shrove Tuesday

Mardi Gras

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Rio Carnival/Mardi Gras
Shrove Tuesday/Mardi Gras

Picture courtesy of www.riocarnaval.org

Shrove Tuesday also known in the West as Pancake Day or Pancake Tuesday is the day before Ash Wednesday the first day of the 40 day fast of Lent. In the commonwealth countries and most of the West it is the day where the last of the butter, eggs and fat is eaten traditionally signified by using it up, indulging in pancakes, thus “Pancake Day or Pancake Tuesday.. The specific custom of British Christians eating pancakes on Shrove Tuesday dates to the 16th century., and was carried with them into the commonwealth countries.

But in the countries where it is called Mardi Gras (“Fat Tuesday” in French).......it is carnival time, the WORLD’S BIGGEST PARTY!! Millions of people take to the streets parading in costumes and floats, they have spent an entire year creating, and they dance.....the samba being the dance of Mardi Gras....in teams of samba schools, they compete with competition being fierce, for the best dancers, best float and best schools, they parade through the streets and in a huge stadium, in some places. It is a huge colourful spectacular event. Also however being a huge party, sin abounds, and will be regretted and repented of during the coming fast. It’s like a huge blowout, where everybody lets their hair down, puts aside sorrow and grief and just parties hard for a week.

God himself made the Sabbath and festivals for man, understanding the need in us to take a break from work and rest to give us time to remember Him and he created festivals because He understands us. He wants us to be joyful and party now and then as long as we don’t hurt ourselves or others in doing so.

Along with its emphasis on feasting, another theme of Shrove Tuesday involves us repenting of our sins in preparation to begin the season of Lent. In many Christian parish churches, both Protestant and Roman Catholic, a popular Shrove Tuesday tradition is the ringing of the church bells (on this day, the toll is known as the Shriving Bell) "to call the faithful to confession before the solemn season of Lent" and for people to "begin frying their pancakes" The word Shove literally comes from the word “shriven” meaning having obtained forgiveness by way of Confession and penance. Traditionally this was done formally every year on this day, before the beginning of Lent.

So enjoy the party and/or the pancakes then examine yourself, confess your sins to God or to a fellow Christian and ask them to pray for you, if God puts some penance or act of atonement on your heart, do it. Then go to sleep tonight prepared to face Ash Wednesday tomorrow.