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How To Make Shrove Tuesday Into A Prayer Exercise

Some call it “Shrove Tuesday”. Other people call it “Pancake Tuesday”. And in some parts of the United States, it is “Mardi Gras.”

Whatever we choose to call it, this day falls on February 13 this year.

So, let’s look at some of the traditions surrounding this day and explore the spiritual significance of this festival.

The Historical Background

The word “shrove” comes from the Old English word “shrive,” which means to confess. In the Middle Ages, Christians were required to confess their sins before starting Lent.

Shrove Tuesday was the last day for Christians to make their confessions and receive absolution from the Church.

This practice of confessing one’s sins is still observed today in sections of the church, but the name “Shrove Tuesday” is not as commonly used.

Celebrating The Day

Many people associate Shrove Tuesday with pancakes. Growing up in the UK, this was always the activity I remember as a kid.

This tradition dates back to the Middle Ages when Christians would use up all of the rich ingredients in their homes, such as butter, sugar, and eggs, before the start of Lent. Pancakes were an easy way to use these ingredients, and they became a traditional food for

Shrove Tuesday.

In some communities and churches, there will be pancake suppers or pancake breakfasts on this day, inviting members of the congregation and the wider community to come together and enjoy a meal of pancakes, often with syrup and other toppings.

There may be pancake-eating contests, even pancake racing (complete with tossing the pancakes). Some schools or community groups hold pancake-themed events to raise money for charitable causes.

Shrove Tuesday is also known as Mardi Gras, mainly in the southern states, such as Louisiana and parts of Texas. It is celebrated with parades, parties, and other festivities. The celebrations often feature colourful costumes, masks, music, and traditional foods such as king cake. Mardi Gras, or Fat Tuesday, is an opportunity to use all the fatty and sweet foods people traditionally give up during Lent.

For many Christians, this also meant going without meat, so Mardi Gras was a day for a Carnival, which literally translates to “to put away meat”.

Is there a spiritual meaning to Shrove Tuesday?

Making and eating Pancakes can be a holy experience.

Really… it CAN!

It is the feasting before the fast. It is a time of worship and praise!

I firmly believe that whenever we create, even in the kitchen, we connect with the one who is Creator. So plan on making, tomorrow, whatever you are planning on giving up for the Lenten Season. Take time to celebrate intentionally before the fast.

The spiritual meaning of Pancake Tuesday, or Shrove Tuesday, is closely linked to the upcoming season of Lent. Thus, Pancake Tuesday’s spiritual meaning is preparation and reflection. It is a time to confess one’s sins, seek forgiveness, and prepare for Easter.

Making and sharing pancakes can remind us of the importance of coming together as a community and sharing in the joys of life, even as we prepare for the more solemn and reflective season of Lent.

Praying as you enjoy your pancakes

  • Add sugar to a pancake and thank God for something ‘sweet’ in your life…

  • Add lemon to a pancake and pray to God about those things that currently seem to ‘sour’ your life…

  • As you finish your pancake, pause to give thanks for all the good things in your life — and pray for a holy Lent over the next 40 days…

God Our Father, as we prepare to begin Lent, please help us to remember what today, Shrove Tuesday, is truly about.Thank You that You love all of us as Your children and bring forgiveness through the death and resurrection of Your Son, Jesus.
Please help us to celebrate and live that message of forgiveness today by forgiving those who have sinned against us.
Lord, we know that you created the world and us. You created pancakes, and you made our taste buds, too! Enable us to enjoy ‘pancake day’ in a spirit of celebration of the goodness of your creation.We make this prayer through Christ our Lord. Amen.

Hope you enjoyed this fun look at Shrove Tuesday. To download the activity and prayer as a one-page PDF,

pancake prayer
Download PDF • 777KB


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