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What is Shrove Tuesday?

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Although far less widely known than Fat Tuesday/Mardi Gras, the Tuesday immediately before Ash Wednesday is also known as Shrove Tuesday. Ash Wednesday marks the beginning of Lent, which is sometimes referred to as "Shrovetide" in England. Observance of Shrove Tuesday can be traced back to at least AD 1000 and was originally observed as a day of confession and penitence in preparation for Ash Wednesday and Lent. Today, Shrove Tuesday is primarily observed among Catholics, Episcopalians, Lutherans, and Methodists. The word shrove is the past tense of shrive, a verb meaning β€œto go to confession and get absolved of sin.”

In the past few centuries, though, Shrove Tuesday has turned into more of a day of feasting in preparation for the fasting that is to occur during Lent. The feasting aspect of Shrove Tuesday originated due to the need to get rid of the foods/ingredients that are restricted during the Lenten fasting, such as sugar, leavened flour, eggs, etc. The need to use up these ingredients has resulted in Shrove Tuesday also becoming known as Pancake Tuesday, or, more simply, Pancake Day.

What does the Bible say about Shrove Tuesday? Should Christians observe Shrove Tuesday? Considering the Bible does not even mention Ash Wednesday or the 40 days of Lent, Shrove Tuesday is not a biblical observance, either. There is certainly nothing wrong with Christians eating pancakes on Shrove Tuesday, or any other Tuesday for that matter. Should a Christian feel led of the Lord to observe Lent in some fashion, there would be nothing wrong with observing a feast the day before the 40 days of Lent. What must be understood, however, is that Shrove Tuesday, Ash Wednesday, Lent, etc., are not observances God requires of Christians. Observance of these days is entirely a matter of personal conviction.

Shrove Tuesday Calendar:
2024 β€” February 13
2025 β€” March 4

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This page last updated: February 15, 2024