The name Shrove Tuesday is derived from the word shrive. To shrive is to confess of sins and repent. And, indeed, in days past the shriver's bells would ring and folks would race off to church to do just that. That would most definitely be a suitable beginning for the Lenten season; however, there is a celebratory nature to Shrove Tuesday as well. As the final day before Lent and its dietary restrictions folks would try to use up their restricted foods (fats, sweets, meats, etc.) on Shrove Tuesday. And, thus, Mardi Gras (Fat Tuesday) and Carnivale (without meat) came in to being. In England on Shrove Tuesday pancakes would traditionally be served and in years past this is what I have served my family. In Germany, however, they would traditionally serve donuts and this is what I opted to serve this year.
Serendipitously, we were studying Martin Luther today and it was fun imagining him eating donuts and racing off to church at the sound of the shriver's bells just six months before he would impact history so profoundly by nailing his 95 theses on the door of the church.
Dinner resembled Carnivale (a very tame carnivale) with its fried meat and beads and masks.
I had hoped that we would go crazy with the sequins, glitter and feathers and decorate those masks this year but that did not happen, obviously. I guess that is something to look forward to for next year!
With the festivities complete we now look ahead to the contemplative Lenten season.