Tuesday, February 24, 2009 21:23 | Filed in Faith & Forteana, Life

So, today was Pancake Day. Also known in some circles as Shrove Tuesday. Tuesday, because it’s on a Tuesday, and Shrove, because…

… it’s a mediæval word for pancake.

Naah, actually it refers to receiving absolution for sins (being shriven of them) before Lent. It’s one of those things that I vaguely know because at one point in time I wondered what the word ‘Shrove’ meant in this context sufficiently to actually look it up.

But this is the time of year when there frequently becomes a noticeable difference between people who describe themselves as Christian, and those who more actively observe it. At least in my experience, this is where you get some people who actually give stuff up for lent, and people who just look forward to chocolate eggs.

It’s also the time of year when I remember that I don’t particularly like pancakes, only I have to eat them, because you’re supposed to have pancakes this time of year…

I remember a conversation with a work colleague several years ago where she told me what she was giving up for lent was “drinking chocolate”. She claimed that this was a major sacrifice, although after being exposed to my scepticism for around ten minutes, she realised that I had actually misheard her, and she was intending to give up “drink and chocolate” for forty days.

Which is fairly impressive, to be honest.

So am I giving up something this year? Well, aside from the fact that my personal take on religion generally ends up somewhere along the lines of “well, I dunno”, I think that what I consider to be Christian values — tolerance, forgiveness, understanding, compassion — are well worth supporting, whether you’re religious or not. And abstinence isn’t necessarily a bad thing: it is probably good to practice using a bit of willpower now and again.

So I’m going to give up something, maybe for even longer than 40 days. Maybe even for a whole year.

…and it’s going to be pancakes.

You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

3 Comments to Pancake

  1. The Goldfish says:

    February 25th, 2009 at 10:12 am

    Rather like Christmas, Easter has as much which has nothing to do with Christianity. It’s all determined by the cycles of the moon, the date was chosen (at Whitby in 664CE) such that lent fell across a seasonal period where the winter stockpiles of native produce are running low and nothing’s growing again yet. Then there’s the Easter Bunny and the eggs – which is all about fertility and dates long before the Christians.

    On Ash Wednesday, I always think of my pious Catholic schoolfriend who used to fast completely today. Only she was squeamish and throughout high school, biology class always fell on a Wednesday. So every Ash Wednesday she’d pass out on the floor of the biology lab. She’s a nun now.

  2. Gill says:

    February 27th, 2009 at 11:02 pm

    I have, I confess, never given up anything for Lent. I’ve always sailed through as normal and if truth be told, I was probably totally unaware that it even was Lent.

    With age comes guilt and I’ve decided to mend my ways, so for 2009, I’m giving up Lent for Lent.

  3. Princess says:

    November 4th, 2012 at 3:38 pm

    Hello, I’m an official in Poland and I would like to get an email when the new isuess of The Zebra come out. Can you please put me on the list? Thanks.

Leave a comment