Tuesday, March 8, 2011
Shrove Tuesday, Mardi Gras, Pancake Day
Eat, drink and be merry for tomorrow begins the long Lenten fast. Or so it is preached. I remember as a child I had to give up something for Lent, something I particularly liked or enjoyed, such as dessert or the Saturday afternoon matinee movie. The time saved was supposed to be spent in quiet contemplation. Come on! I was probably 8 years old when this was first explained to me. What did I know about quiet contemplation, or want to know, for that matter? Lent was also the time when we had a meatless Wednesday and fish every Friday. (That habit stuck; I still do fish on Friday.)
When I went away to school we had Lenten "projects" we were assigned. I remember a couple of years when we all ~ the entire boarding community ~ had to make baby clothes to be given to a local "home" for "unfortunate girls." Again, we had two or three meatless meals during Lent, usually Wednesday, Friday and Sunday evening supper. The lucky day students didn't have to do a thing and could eat whatever their Mom's served up! We did have a big pancake feast at Shrove Tuesday breakfast, with little foil-wrapped prizes folded into the batter and cooked into the pancake. Things like pennies (for future wealth), tiny metal toys (fertility tokens!), and always one "diamond" ring signifying, I guess, the prospect of eternal bliss.
Later on I gave up things like smoking or swearing or some other halo-polishing, wing-whitening activity of which I was particularly fond. I know someone who always gives up her favorite prosecco before dinner. These days? I figure I do enough quiet contemplation already. And I gave up smoking almost 40 years ago. Still working on the swearing.
This year I am taking something up instead of giving it up. I have decided that not writing my blog every day is getting too confusing. Mainly I can't remember everything that has happened unless I write it down right away. For at least the next 47 days (40 days of Lent plus 6 Sundays that don't count), I will write here every day. I trust you will be relieved when Easter finally arrives on April 24th. I know I will.