When I was a kid, I remember my Grandma talking about Shrove Tuesday and Ash Wednesday, Maundy Thursday and Good Friday. I always thought it was pretty cool that some days got special names in the lead up to Easter. I never really knew where the names came from but I loved to hear my Grandma say them. I have no idea why I remember her talking about the special days leading up to Easter, but it just stands as a really cool memory I keep. Before I forget, she also used to pronounce April as Ape-rile. I can hear her talking and using all of those various words!
Anyhow, for some reason tonight, as I was thinking of her, I decided that after 41 years of not knowing what Shrove Tuesday or Maundy Thursday meant, I decided to look them up.
The word shrove is the past tense of the English verb shrive, which means to obtain absolution for one’s sins by way of Confession and doing penance. Thus Shrove Tuesday gets its name from the custom for Christians to be “shriven” before the start of Lent. Shrove Tuesday is the last day of “shrovetide”, somewhat analogous to the Carnival tradition that developed separately in countries of Latin Europe.
Maundy Thursday (also known as Holy Thursday, Covenant Thursday, Great and Holy Thursday, Sheer Thursday and Thursday of Mysteries) is the Christian feast, or holy day, falling on the Thursday before Easter. It commemorates the Maundy and Last Supper of Jesus Christ with the Apostles
I also learned that Maundy means foot washing. I really hate anything related to feet so I am out on Maundy Thursday. Shriving doesn’t sound like much fun either although shrovetide is a really cool word.
I decided to go with the other name for today…Fat Tuesday which comes from the French which comes from the Latin for “act like a fool and eat a lot of crap you know you shouldn’t”. Yes, that sounds much more up my alley. Today, I decided to honor the fine tradition of Fat Tuesday. I have had 4 donuts, 3 liters of Mountain Dew, 5 Cadbury Creme eggs and a small piece of chicken (because it was doused in spices and stuff).
Come to think of it, maybe I do need to shrive a little…I shrive that I have eaten very badly today and that it was probably not the best idea…tomorrow I will need to find absolution…from my stomach!