This is the first I've heard of a thing called Shrove Tuesday. I feel stupid, really. It's today.
Wikipedia has this brief explanation:
"Shrove Tuesday is the term used in the English-speaking countries of the United Kingdom, Ireland, and Australia to refer to the day after Collop Monday and before Ash Wednesday (the liturgical season of Lent begins on Ash Wednesday). In these countries, and amongst Anglicans in Canada, this day is also known as Pancake Day, because it is customary to eat pancakes on this day. In other parts of the world—for example, in historically Catholic and French-speaking parts of the United States and elsewhere—this day is called Mardi Gras, and in areas with large Polish-immigrant populations (for example, Chicago and Detroit) it is known as Paczki Day."
A little while ago, Heather was chatting with a British mum from Meaghan's school. She was telling Heather about this, and, before you know it, we were invited over to their house for pancakes, to celebrate Shrove Tuesday with them.
Then, last week in our Alpha group meeting (on Tuesday) we were talking about the "meal sign-up" for the following week, and someone in the group volunteered to make pancakes, since, they said, it would be Shrove Tuesday. The group thought that was a good idea, so, in about 15 minutes I'll leave the house to go have more pancakes.
This is to say: I just got home from an afternoon of pancakes and now will have more for dinner. I'm in heaven...
Apparently, according to our friend, the tradition to make pancakes on this day comes from the idea that, with Lent commencing on the next day, one is supposed to clear one's cupboards of all sorts of rich foods, such as butter, eggs, milk and sweets. So, pancakes were the perfect solution.
I never put it together with Mardi Gras, but now that makes sense. One last burst of "sinful" pleasure before the fasting and repentance (and seriousness) of Lent.
To get an idea of this, watch the film "Chocolat."
I'm a slow learner, but eventually, I do catch on to these things!