But what does Shrove mean and why pancakes?
We all know the term “Shrove Tuesday” or “Pancake Tuesday” for the Tuesday before Ash Wednesday. But what does Shrove mean and why pancakes?
Shrove is a form of the English word “shrive” which means to get absolution for ones sins by going to confession and doing penance. Therefore Shrove Tuesday gets its name from the Christian custom of being “shriven” i.e. going to confession, prior to the start of Lent.
Pancakes are associated with the same day because they were a way to use up rich foods like eggs, milk and sugar, before the 40 days fasting required for Lent. During Lent the eating of plainer food was emphasized and there were restrictions on what and how much you could eat. Nowadays it is less restrictive but people are asked to sacrifice something they like for the duration of Lent and refrain from eating meat on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday.