Coming from my Jewish background, I had minimal knowledge of Christian holidays besides Christmas. My informant taught me about Shrove Tuesday and the special treat associated with it.
So, Shrove Tuesday — S-H-R-O-V-E Tuesday, otherwise known as Pancake Day, is a religious holiday celebrated in the United Kingdom, mostly by Christians, um, but sometimes Catholics, Lutherans, etcetera etcetera. Um, basically, it’s, it’s before Lent, so it’s, it’s a holiday of self-reflection and, uh, y’know, like Thanksgiving, I guess. But basically, the whole country goes nuts, they make these pancakes, which are more like crepes, with the traditional toppings of lemon and sugar. You would drizzle, uh, lemon juice on top and then dust it with sugar, and then you would wrap it up and eat it. It’s actually really f__king good. But basically at school, every Shrove Tuesday we would get… it was like, an exciting day because you could eat something sweet that didn’t taste like wet cardboard. So that was just a fun thing that we’d all get very excited for… of course, it being school lunch it wasn’t really that yummy, anyway… but that was just a fun thing to look forward to in the school year.
While I had not heard of Shrove Tuesday, the interesting thing to me about this piece, as with the Guy Fawkes Day entry, was how removed the informant’s celebration of the holiday is from its origin and meaning. My informant does not come from a religious background, but looked forward to Shrove Tuesday solely because of its association with pancakes — the day was even known by the alternate name “Pancake Tuesday.” To him, the holiday had little to do with Christianity. Worldwide, particularly in the United States, Christmas has become secularized and fairly non-denominational. I would be interested to know how many children who grow up participating in festive, secular versions of these holidays end up continuing to practice the religion.
Godlewski, Nina. “What Is the Meaning of Fat Tuesday or Shrove Tuesday?” Newsweek, Newsweek, 5 Mar. 2019, www.newsweek.com/fat-shrove-tuesday-what-meaning-tradition-1351332.