Saturday, February 21, 2009
The word shrove is a past tense of the English verb "shrive," which means to obtain absolution for one's sins by confessing and doing penance. Shrove Tuesday gets its name from the shriving (confessing) that English Christians were expected to do prior to receiving absolution immediately before Lent began.Shrove Tuesday is the last day of "shrovetide", the English equivalent to the Carnival tradition that developed separately in countries of Latin Europe.
In countries of the Carnival tradition, the day before Ash Wednesday is known either as the "Tuesday of Carnival" (in Spanish-speaking countries, Martes de Carnaval, in Portuguese-speaking countries, Terça-feira de Carnaval, in German Faschingsdienstag) or Fat Tuesday (in Portuguese-speaking countries Terça-feira Gorda, in French-speaking countries, Mardi Gras, in Italian-speaking countries, Martedì Grasso, in Sweden, Fettisdagen). In Estonian, Vastlapäev.
The term "Shrove Tuesday" is no longer widely known in the United States outside of the Episcopal Church Tradition because of the increase in many immigrant populations and traditions since the 19th century. Mardi Gras was always the tradition among French Catholics.
Shrove Tuesday this year is also my 51st Birthday, Feb. 24.
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