on the 'net
You are in: surefish
Date: Updated 2014
Andrew Chapman looks at Lent on the net.
'In the village
of Olney in Buckinghamshire, the tradition of pancake racing
- said to have started when a woman was late for church and
ran with her pan to get there on time - is believed to date
back to 1445.'
Shrove Tuesday is a time of both celebration and denial.
Many people don't realise Shrove Tuesday is actually part of what, in England, was traditionally a four-day
Shrove or Egg
Saturday; Shrove Sunday or Quinquagesima;
Monday (collops were slices of salted, dried meat eaten in the
north of England - thus this was the last opportunity to eat flesh
before the fast period; and Shrove
Tuesday, from the practice of 'shriving' or penitence
In other words, a period of gluttony, and then one of purging.
In French culture, and in places influenced by France such as New
Orleans, Shrove Tuesday is known as Mardi
Gras ('fat Tuesday') - although this term has often been broadened
to cover any modern carnival.
In England, Shrove Tuesday is also Pancake
Day - eating eggs and fat was another crucial dietary
boost before the fast of Lent.
Many customs, such as playing pranks, are notably similar to those
In the village of Olney in Buckinghamshire, the tradition of pancake
racing - said to have started when a woman was late for church
and ran with her pan to get there on time - is believed to date
back to 1445.
Since 1950, the Olney race has had overseas competition from its
'pancake race twin town' of Liberal
in Kansas, USA. The towns compare the times of the winners from
the main pancake flipping race and the town with the fastest winner
wins! 2009 marks the 60th anniversary of the international race.
A number of English towns traditionally play football
on Shrove Tuesday, too.
Further afield, this period is also known as carnivale
- the word actually means 'farewell to meat'. The most famous carnivals
are probably those of Venice,
where thousands of people fill the streets wearing masks,
de Janeiro, famed for its huge
But other countries across the world celebrate at this time, too,
and the Dominican
But after all this freedom and frivolity comes a time for more serious
Immediately following Shrove Tuesday is Ash
Wednesday, the beginning of Lent.
It is a day to reflect
on mortality, symbolised in Christian tradition by wearing a
cross of ash on the forehead.
itself is a time for self-denial and also rebirth through the renewal
this offers. It has been observed since the fourth century. Eastern
and western churches count the 40-day