AS I wander around the shops at the moment, I see notices for ‘pancake day’, shelves bulging with eggs, flour and milk strategically placed next to lemon juice, sugar, syrup and chocolate spread!
As a Christian I should be rejoicing that such a major event in the Christian calendar is being celebrated by young and old alike.
However, I do wonder just how many people know the story behind Shrove Tuesday (which is, of course, Pancake Day), and how significant it is in the lives of Christians.
Shrove Tuesday is the traditional feast day before the start of Lent.
During Lent, we remember the 40 days Jesus spent in the wilderness before he began his ministry, when he was tempted not to follow God’s plan for our salvation.
Ash Wednesday is the day Lent starts. Because Lent was traditionally a time for fasting – when you might have a simpler diet or miss some meals altogether – the tradition arose that you would use food like milk, eggs, flour and sugar the night beforehand.
Therefore, Shrove Tuesday became the day those ingredients were mixed as pancakes.
Many Christians and others still either give up something or take on something extra during Lent. Some still fast on a certain day each week during this time.
There aren’t any strict rules we have to particularly follow any more, but the idea of giving something up is not necessarily about being more healthy in your body – but also in your spirit.
The original intention of fasting or changing your diet was to give you more time to pray – perhaps doing so each time your stomach rumbled!
In today’s world, it is important to remember the old traditions, even if it is nothing to do with our own faith.
So let’s honour the day by referring to it as Shrove Tuesday – a day that should be fun, inclusive and a bit of a celebration for everyone in a dull, cold month.
Why not join the congregations of St Thomas the Apostle, Elson and St Matthew’s, Bridgemary, when we meet on Tuesday evening (Feb 28) at 6.30pm in St Matthew’s Church on Wych Lane?
We’ll celebrate with mountains of pancakes and a host of sweet and savoury fillings before we begin our Lenten fast, in form that may take.
Everyone is always welcome to come to our Sunday services at St Matthew’s and St Thomas the Apostle.
If you are fasting over Lent, good luck!