Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Shrive, Shrove, Shriven

Shrove Tuesday is the last day before Lent which is a time of self-denial and fasting as an act of devotion and self-discipline. The word shrove is associated with the process of admitting that we have sinned, repenting, and being assured of God's forgiveness.

To give someone "short shrift" is to pay little attention to their excuses or problems.

Shrove Tuesday is also known as Pancake Tuesday and Fat Tuesday (Mardi Gras in French). On Shrove Tuesday it is customary to eat pancakes, and many churches have pancake suppers. The tradition came about because the meal would use up the milk and butter that was usually on hand in the kitchen. These items could be given up for lent. In some church communities there are also pancake races and pancake tossing demonstrations and contests.

Hanukkah is the commemoration of the dedication of the Jewish Temple by Judas Maccabeus in 165 BC, after it had been defiled by Antiochus Epiphanes. Though there was only enough pure oil to light the lamps for one day, the lamps burned for eight days when more could be obtained. It is a custom in the Jewish religion to eat potato pancakes (latkes) which are made with oil, to celebrate this miracle. Eating pancakes at a time when the oil is plentiful is common in both Christian and Jewish traditions.

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