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Article image for Why do we "pancake" on Shrove Tuesday?

Posted by Marie Pawsey

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Shrove Tuesday started as the day to eat up all the sugar and fat-filled foods that we were about to ‘give up for Lent’.  So syrupy pancakes fried in delicious butter certainly fit the bill!!

[Traditionally these days before Lent were for ‘shriving’ - confessing your sins and being given absolution (forgiveness for your sins) - before Lent began.  ‘Shrove’ is the past tense of ‘shrive’]

And the day after Shrove Tuesday is always Ash Wednesday, the first day of Lent.  Lent is the season of getting ready for Easter with its joys and seriousness.  Lent lasts for forty days before Easter – but it doesn’t include the Sundays! [for those mathematicians out there :) ]

Many people ‘give up something’ for Lent – perhaps chocolate or going to the movies.  Some people still make Lent a time of fasting – giving up some food to spend time in prayer.

Perhaps the ‘giving up’ results in giving something – maybe the cost of the morning coffee will be given to a worthy cause or time might be given to going to Lenten worship each week at your local church.  Many churches focus on Jesus by offering additional weeknight worship services or Bible studies for the duration of Lent.

Shrove Tuesday is a terrific tradition and lots of fun.  And it is a great start to Lent and to heading us on the journey to Easter. 

P.S. Lutherans are not ‘required’ to give up something for Lent.  But some take the opportunity to put more Jesus-time into their lives.


Lutheran Tract Mission has developed a new booklet "Reflections Through Lent". Download your copy here.

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