Shrove Tuesday (or Pancake Day) is finally here! But what is Shrove Tuesday, and why do we celebrate it?


A Christian Tradition.

Shrove Tuesday is the day before Lent (which begins on Ash Wednesday). The word shrove comes from the verb - to shrive - meaning to confess one’s sins. Historically, it was the custom to confess sins before the 40 days of Lent.

For centuries, Christians have eaten pancakes to use up all of the ‘rich’ foods found in their kitchens, such as eggs, flour and milk. They do this to prepare themselves for fasting during Lent. This is done in memory of Jesus, who was said to have fasted for 40 days in the desert.

Today, the tradition of fasting has continued. However, most people spend Lent giving up an unhealthy food they enjoy (like chocolate), instead of following the traditional method of fasting.

Mardi Gras.

Many European nations celebrate “Shrove Tuesday” as the public holiday Mardi Gras - or “Fat Tuesday.” Mardi Gras is a festive season for these countries, beginning at “Three Kings Day” and ending on “Shrove Tuesday.” To celebrate this, these nations hold Carnival celebrations during Shrovetide (or pre-Lent).

Other than the differences in how we celebrate Mardi Gras and Shrove Tuesday, both events act as a time to reflect, eat rich food, and spend time with loved ones.

How did we celebrate?

At Languages United, we have celebrated Shrove Tuesday by giving pancakes to all our students during their morning break.