Shrove Tuesday is a holiday celebrated with parades of floats worldwide and the custom of wearing costumes and masks. Like many other celebrations, the religious significance of Shrove Tuesday has been lost over time, overwhelmed by a more consumerist vision and projected towards the immanent plane. It was not always the case, even if, in the case of Shrove Tuesday. A joyful dimension still characterizes the connotation of the religious celebration.
Since this is the day before the holy Ash and the beginning of Lent, since ancient times, it has been the last day dedicated to the consumption of rich and tasty, greasy food to empty the larder. No longer to be led into temptation. Ash Wednesday, which precedes the first Sunday of Lent, begins a period of penance in preparation for Easter, characterized by fasting and giving up certain foods, such as meat.
What is Shrove Tuesday?
Shrove Tuesday is a feast that marks the last day when you can eat sweet food before one of the four great fasts begins. Fasts of the Orthodox Church (Lent of the Birth of the Lord, Lent of Easter. Lent of the Holy Apostles Peter and Paul, and Lent of the Assumption of the Mother of God). The only fast with two Lent seasons is Easter Lent, also known as Lent. The first Lent is for meat and is held on the Sunday of the Fearful Judgment, and the other is for eggs, fish, and dairy and is held on the Sunday of Adam’s Expulsion from Heaven. Worldwide’s most prominent and probably most famous carnival processions take place.
Shrove Tuesday plays a vital role in all areas of the world. Many traditions are still kept. For example, Shrove Tuesday preserves traditions specific to the beginning of an agricultural year, celebrated with the spring equinox. By fixing Easter about the spring equinox and the lunar phase, essential pagan celebrations, and customs have been pushed outside the Easter cycle to the Dry Season and Pentecost.
This holiday also marks that moment of the watershed between the new and the old year. Depending on this holiday, local customs and traditions are also observed. These are divided into two categories: celebrations before the Dry Season in “Crazy Week” and businesses held in the week of “Santoader’s Horse.”
Traditions, events, and customs
Shrove Tuesday is the last day before Lent, which begins on Ash Wednesday. The feast falls on a day between February 3 and March 9. It is also called Mardi Gras, Violet Tuesday, and Mardi Gras. Mardi Gras is associated with many different customs worldwide, which involve noisy celebrations and hearty food.
Even though the big carnival parades in Germany and Switzerland have a long tradition and attract many people, Brazil’s most extensive and probably most famous carnival processions take place every year. The Shrove Tuesday celebrations (roughly: “Fat Tuesday”) in New Orleans, USA, are also renowned worldwide.
And in France, there are colorful Shrove Tuesday parades every year, especially in the southern cities of Cannes, Grasse and Nice. Floats with giant figures, richly decorated with flowers, are driven through the streets. There are also crepes and waffles to eat, and a figure is traditionally burnt, symbolizing evil. In England, the day is known as Pancake Day, and many places hold games and races in which pancakes play a crucial role. In northern Sweden, a meat stew is traditionally served on Shrove Tuesday.
Why do we eat pancakes on Shrove Tuesday?
The forty days she was preceding the celebration of Easter, mainly when it was observed more rigorously. Marked a time of eating simpler foods, forgoing prosperous ones such as sweets, but especially avoiding meat in favor of any vegetarian food. The day before the start of the season was the ideal time to make pancakes. Pancake contests may have originated in 1445 when a Buckinghamshire woman is said to have heard the sound of church bells as she turned the pancakes. So she ran into the church in her apron, still holding the pan.
Although the date is associated with different foods worldwide, Christians in countries such as Russia and Ukraine eat blinis, their traditional pancakes. It’s not just the British who prefer pancakes. And there are wide varieties worldwide.
The Shrove Tuesday Carnival falls on different dates each year but always on Tuesday. The festival is linked to Easter, which, as is known, varies from year to year. Carnival marks the beginning of Lent (forty days – even if it is not exactly 40 days – before Easter). Easter is celebrated on the Sunday following the first full moon after spring (the spring equinox falls on March 21). Therefore Easter is fixed on the first Sunday after the first full moon, starting from the equinox date. Due to the length of the lunar phases, Easter can fall between March 22 and April 25 (inclusive). The Carnival will be “low or high,” depending on this date.
Read also: Biblical Fasting | ✝ Fasting in Christianity
You might also want to know.
- According to Christian tradition, all supplies of milk, butter, and eggs had to be eaten the day before the start of Lent. It is why pastries containing these ingredients are eaten in many countries during Shrove Tuesday and the Carnival. For this reason, Shrove Tuesday in England is also called Pancake Day. Generally, it was time to fill up and celebrate on “Fat Tuesday” before the 40-day fasting period.
- On Shrove Tuesday, Pancakes are eaten in abundance in Britain, North America, and other British-influenced regions on what is known there as Pancake Day. Other pancake-related rituals take place here, such as the pancake race. In the town of Beckum in North Rhine-Westphalia, Shrove Tuesday is known as Bell Tuesday. This name comes from the fact that children used to ring the doorbell on Halloween.
- Musical competitions are held on this day in many Caribbean countries, for example, Trinidad and Tobago. The biggest celebration of the year takes place in Haiti.
Read also: Why Jesus fast for 40 days?
Shrove Tuesday is also known internationally as Mardi Gras or Fat Tuesday. As it always takes place the day before Ash Wednesday, it is calculated according to the Easter formula of Mobile Easter. According to this formula, Ash Wednesday is the 46th day before Easter Sunday. The earliest possible date for Shrove Tuesday is February 3, and the latest is March 9.
So, Shrove Tuesday is the name of the latest Christian holiday, transforming itself into a pagan festival, which is the day between Monday and Ash Wednesday. As the last day before the start of Lent, it is of particular importance in many regions. And sometimes, it is the climax of the Shrove Tuesday celebrations.