Shrove Tuesday Pancake Supper at St. Martin’s!
Tuesday, March 4th
5:30 – 7:30 pm
Community Life Building
The Origins of Shrove Tuesday
Shrove Tuesday originated during the Middle Ages. As in contemporary times, food items like meats, fats, eggs, milk, and fish were regarded as restricted during Lent. To keep such food from being wasted, many families would have big feasts on Shrove Tuesday in order to consume those items that would inevitably become spoiled during the next forty days. The English tradition of eating pancakes on Shrove Tuesday came about as a way to use as much milk, fats, and eggs as possible before Ash Wednesday began. In France, the consumption of all fats and fatty foods on this day coined the name “Fat Tuesday” orMardi Gras.
Shrove Tuesday has a variety of customs that have derived from different regions around Europe and the Americas. As previously mentioned, England began the tradition of serving pancakes, and for this reason the day is known as “Pancake Day”. In addition, there are the annual Pancake Day Races, where contestants dress in aprons and scarves and race down a course flipping a pancake in a frying pan or skillet.
In Eastern Europe, the Carnival celebrations include boisterous processions where people in large masks parade around and play jokes on bystanders. The masks are often caricatures of individuals from traditional folklore. Men and women will dress as one another and engage in gendered mimicry. The day is filled with eating, drinking, fortune telling, and practical jokes.
Perhaps the most prominent customs are the balls and pageants in New Orleans and Rio de Janiero. Like Eastern European celebrations, participants wear masks and costumes, many of which are quite flamboyant and elaborate. Rio has a parade of multi-colored feathers, which include hundreds of dancers dressed in costumes decked with feathers, all dancing the samba. In New Orleans, Mardi Gras includes a variety of parades featuring grand floats and giant effigies of eccentric characters. There is much eating, drinking, and dancing, as well as practical jokes and humorous street plays.