June 20th, 2024

Shrove Tuesday: more than just pancakes

By JAMES TUBB on February 21, 2023.


Rev. Dave Pollard is a simple man when it comes to his pancakes – a little bit of butter, pour on some Canadian maple syrup and he’s as happy as can be. That’s what his go-to will be for tonight during Fifth Avenue Memorial United Church and Westminster United Church’s joint pancake dinner.

The dinner gets underway at 5 p.m. at Westminster and is free with donation.

Shrove Tuesday, or Pancake Tuesday as it’s also known, is celebrated in many countries around the world with schools cooking up flapjacks for kids and restaurants offering deals on the breakfast delight. But there is more to the day than choosing which topping works best.

The Christian festival of Shrove Tuesday falls on the Tuesday before the beginning of Lent, a period of around six weeks leading up to Easter. Pollard says the day originates from the feast of Passover when Jews were in slavery in Egypt and Moses led them out into the wilderness. They had this experience of what they called Passover. Before leaving Egypt, they were commanded by God and Exodus to eat a meal of roasted lamb, and unleavened bread.

He says the idea was to get rid of all of their goods before the long journey with the feast. That has now become the final day before Lent for people to enjoy all their luxuries before adapting and giving something up.

“It’s kind of one last blowout before the asceticism of Lent,” Pollard said. “It harkens back a little bit to Jewish traditions as well as Christian traditions. Whether it’s Mardi Gras, fat Tuesday, New Orleans, the parade, that sort of thing, it’s that penultimate thing we do before we give things up for Lent.”

Giving things up for Lent generally revolves around pleasures like sweets, going on social media or that last bowl of ice cream before bed – always giving something up.

While Pollard says he hasn’t decided what he will be doing for Lent, he encourages people consider doing something for less, instead of, say, just giving up watching hockey.

“Add a time of spiritual practice to take 10 minutes in the day to meditate, maybe add a good deed you can do like pay it forward in the drive-thru, that sort of thing,” Pollard said. “It’s almost like subtraction by addition, if you take that time to nurture your fate, if you deliberately every day take 10 minutes to sit, and if you go through the the drive-thru, buy a coffee for someone else, extended random acts of kindness out in the community, we also encourage those kinds of practices, too.”

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